Erica’s a budding leader in education
NJERI MCPHERSON | 10/17/2019, 2:06 p.m.
Educator, writer, and entrepreneur Erica Buddington has dedicated her efforts to providing accessible education to children of color. Having worked in education for several years, Buddington has found her main cause of concern to be what children of color are learning and how they are learning it. Through Langston League, a consulting firm providing a culturally responsive curriculum, Buddington is serving a need for children everywhere.
Though she hopes to provide culturally affirming curriculum for children, Buddington herself had a complex experience in school. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Buddington went to both private and public schools, bringing on a diverse set of experiences.
“It was a mixed bag—I started off in Brooklyn private school and I actually had a really good experience. For eight years the teachers were predominantly Black and Hispanic, and the culture was very affirming,” says Buddington. “Then I went to public school, where people were predominantly white.”
It was in public school that she found the curriculum and teaching style far less appropriate for students of color. Not only were the teachers predominantly white, but also the curriculum in itself greatly lacked figures and authors of color. This issue would prove to be an inspiration for her to write.
“Though there were books of Black women writing, they never made it to my schools’ bookshelves,” says Buddington. “I became a writer, because I wanted to see more of me.”
Buddington started writing poetry from the young age of 4. Since then, she has written four books not only as a form of personal catharsis, but also for the sake of more representation for other Black people.
“[Writing] is a relief, definitely therapy, but there is also power in it,” says Buddington. “There is power in knowing I can make people feel affirmed, but I also know that is a lot of responsibility.”
Beyond writing, she found unexpected passion in education. She began teaching, and found just how needed culturally relevant curriculum and teaching methods are. Among her goals, she hopes to connect kids to important information through familiar means. In the past, doing this through rapping songs about geography over Cardi B, and analyzing Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” to enhance writing skills.
“I want to be a bridge between the core content and their contemporary ideals.
“I eat lunch with the kids, I’m on the playground with them, I hear how they speak, how they move, as well as the music and the movies they listen to, and I go home and I listen to it. Even though it may not be my cup of tea, I can use it in a lesson,” explains Buddington. “I’m going to take what you are singing in the hallway and use it in a lesson—that is a bridge.”
Langston League hopes to help all teachers and educators present information as a bridge through “infusing cultural knowledge, student experiences, beliefs and interests into each lesson.” But, beyond cultural relevance, Buddington hopes to push her students into the world and give her students an immersive education—through decoration of the classroom to match the subject matter or several field trips to various locations.