Justis Lopez is a social studies educator from Manchester, Connecticut.

How did Justis come to the conclusion that he should be an educator?

What was the role of his teacher in supporting his path?

How does Justis define being a “hip-hop educator”?

Have you ever had a “hip-hop educator,” someone that reflects the values and teaching approach described by Justis? If so, what was the difference between having a hip-hop educator and a regular teacher?


Teaching Tolerance

Diversity in young adult novels


Noelle Lilley, the author of “Society isn’t all white, so why is our kids’ literature?,” loves young adult fiction. However, what did she observe about the characters in her beloved books?

Noelle says, “Everywhere you look, the people who are popular, the people who are successful, the people who are rich, the people who are big and beautiful and everything you hope to be are white.” Think about the books and movies you’ve seen. Are the majority of the characters white or people of color? What message does it send young people of color when they only see white successful characters?

What problem did Marley Dias, the 11-year-old of New Jersey, observe and what did she decide to do about it?

Justis says, “Hip-hop gives a voice back to the youth. Because the youth often times are some of the most marginalized people in our population.”

As a youth, do you feel like your voice is marginalized or unheard? Do you feel that hip-hop always, never, or sometimes reflects your own feelings and opinions? Can you give an example?