For-profit

Bella Consulting Firm

Location:

Macomb, Michigan

Type:

For-Profit DEI Consultant

Founded:

2018

Founder:

April Baker-Bell

Bella Consulting Firm, LLC was incorporated in 2018 by April Baker-Bell, a self-proclaimed activist, teacher, and researcher. [1] [2]

Baker-Bell trains teachers on how to teach Black students and understand their linguistic backgrounds. [3] [4] She asserts that teacher education programs do not prepare teachers to address the language needs of Black students. [5]

Founder

April Baker-Bell, a Detroit native, is a self-proclaimed activist, teacher, and researcher. She is an Associate Professor of Language, Literacy, and English Education at Michigan State University. [6] She began her teaching career in a charter school in Detroit and then continued in the Detroit public school system, later moving on to higher education. [7] She works as vice president of the Michigan Council of Teachers of English. [8]

Baker-Bell is the author of Linguistic Justice: Black Language, Literacy, Identity, and Pedagogy, which seeks to undo “Anti-Black Linguistic Racism”—a phrase Baker-Bell claims to have created—and white linguistic supremacy. [9]

Baker-Bell has expressed support for teaching Critical Race English Education, an attempt to “name and dismantle white supremacy and anti-Black and anti-Brown racism.” Baker-Bell and colleagues wrote in English Education that educators play a role and participate in “racial violence” when not focusing on Black students in their classrooms, not reading literature that portrays Black people as heroes, victors, heroines, and activists, and by not critiquing the media’s negative portrayal of Black people. Baker-Bell and her co-authors argue that white supremacy and anti-blackness are “perpetuated in our nation’s schools, classrooms, curriculum, and teacher education programs. [10]

April Baker-Bell refers to standard English as “White Mainstream English.” She asserts that White Mainstream English reflects white, male, upper-class linguistics preferences. [11] Baker-Bell writes that the use of White Mainstream English in classrooms constitutes linguistic racism. [12]

Consulting Activities

April Baker-Bell uses programs, seminars, webinars, and discussions to share her ideas that “standard English is a myth” and its propagation constitutes “linguistic isolation,” which was used by white slave owners and is used today by a “class of people reliant on the oppressors’ language to communicate.” She uses her consulting platform to target educators and the way they typically teach language. [13] She has given workshops and presentations at schools and education agencies throughout Michigan. [14]

Oakland Schools

Oakland Schools, a public K-12 school system located in Waterford, Michigan, signed a contract with Bella Consulting in March 2021 for a “powerful” 45-minute lecture, followed by a 15-minute question and answer period. The session, led by Baker-Bell, focused on anti-Black linguistic racism and how schools can “affirm Blackness in classrooms and communities.” Bella was paid $3,000 for the hour-long virtual seminar attended by teachers and administrators. [15]

University of Buffalo

In November 2021, the University of Buffalo invited April Baker-Bell to lead a workshop focused on “antiracist practices in writing instruction and support.” [16]

The Hate U Give

In April Baker-Bell’s English 302 class at Michigan State, she assigns the book The Hate U Give as a reading assignment for her students, who are preparing to be English teachers. In conjunction, Baker-Bell organized a series, “Thug,” focused on study of the book. In the series the students attended a screening of The Hate U Give, which one student described as “woke” and “an excellent choice to train future teachers.” [17]

Grants

In June 2021, April Baker-Bell was selected to receive the Andrew W. Mellon New Directions Fellowship for her work in public health to “develop, implement, and study an antiracist medical training that supports medical professionals,” totaling $218,000. [18] She has also received multiple grants for research and summer work from Michigan State University. [19]

References

  1. “Bella Consulting Firm, L.L.C.” LARA Corporations Online Filing System. Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. Accessed November 23, 2021. https://cofs.lara.state.mi.us/CorpWeb/CorpSearch/CorpSummary.aspx?token=nBxILn58HwVtv4JMRDwTm1cWblopjmzIgq3FCQzRMH7Z0mRAdeXC1F/eVGfJccW1MCd1aLHIg4+CtOVZe5Kw+aunwNN3qPZqOpfi1o8VJow0W4UNvgGmDKkIPxl1au7hC1L0piESjkUiCI0pyOeED3u4BBj9yRltgpUVML/o/yb0MdBo9Al+UnZ/aMfhDiw/SIl8wP0M2nd61WCYu8KZ0frQAv89pmmLv07Gv8KAorOrsPoKYOHZS7lR5nYPohValeZXYpNku7InWYravcFQcswsGkaIykLrLXv/fWnnMSo8F7xjGGSG5zH9QHUNsucucTlcXIkHsr1akBRJSFDRaaGAxjZrI/2H ^
  2. “April Baker-Bell: Cultural Context of Language.” MSU Today. September 12, 2018. Accessed November 23, 2021. https://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2018/april-baker-bell-cultural-context-of-language ^
  3. “April Baker-Bell: Cultural Context of Language.” MSU Today. September 12, 2018. Accessed November 23, 2021. https://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2018/april-baker-bell-cultural-context-of-language ^
  4. “Early Career Award Honors Baker-Bell for Language and Literacy Work with Black Youth.” MSU Today. April 17, 2018. Accessed November 23, 2021. https://cal.msu.edu/news/early-career-award-honors-baker-bell-for-language-and-literacy-work-with-black-youth/ ^
  5. “Early Career Award Honors Baker-Bell for Language and Literacy Work with Black Youth.” MSU Today. April 17, 2018. Accessed November 23, 2021. https://cal.msu.edu/news/early-career-award-honors-baker-bell-for-language-and-literacy-work-with-black-youth/ ^
  6. Brauer, Beth. “‘Thug’ Event Series Examines Language, Tackles Race and Bias.” MSU Today. October 30, 2021. Accessed November 23, 2021. https://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2018/thug-event-series-examines-language-tackles-race-and-bias ^
  7. “April Baker-Bell: Cultural Context of Language.” MSU Today. September 12, 2018. Accessed November 23, 2021. https://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2018/april-baker-bell-cultural-context-of-language ^
  8. “Early Career Award Honors Baker-Bell for Language and Literacy Work with Black Youth.” Michigan State University College of Arts and Letters. April 17, 2018. Accessed November 28, 2021. https://cal.msu.edu/news/early-career-award-honors-baker-bell-for-language-and-literacy-work-with-black-youth/ ^
  9. “Dr. April Baker-Bell.” April Baker-Bell. Accessed November 23, 2021. https://aprilbakerbell.com/ ^
  10. Baker-Bell, April. “Editorial: The Pain and the Wounds: A Call for Critical Race English Education in the Wake of Racial Violence.” English Education. National Council of Teachers of English. 2017. http://www.jstor.org/stable/26492793. ^
  11. Moore Jr., Eddie, Michael, Ali, Penick-Parks, Marguerite. “I Can Switch My Language, But I Can’t Switch My Skin.” The Guide for White Women Who Teach Black Boys. Corwin Press. 2017. https://rhetoricspring19.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/baker-bell%E2%80%94i-can-switch-my-language-but-i-cant-switch-my-skin.pdf ^
  12. Baker-Bell, April. “Dismantling Anti-Black Linguistic Racism in English Language Arts Classrooms: Toward an Anti-Racist Black Language Pedagogy.” Theory Into Practice. 2020. http://www.blackfeministpedagogies.com/uploads/2/5/5/9/25595205/dismantling_anti_black_linguistic_racism_in_english_language_arts_classrooms_toward_an_anti_racist_black_language_pedagogy.pdf ^
  13. “Events – Workshop with April Baker-Bell.” University of Buffalo. Accessed November 28, 2021. http://www.buffalo.edu/writing/inclusion/events.html ^
  14. Dr. April Baker-Bell. Curriculum Vitae. Academia – Michigan State University. Accessed November 28, 2021. https://michiganstate.academia.edu/DrAprilBakerBell/CurriculumVitae ^
  15. “Presenter Contract.” Oakland Schools. March 8, 2021. Accessed November 19, 2021. https://defendinged.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Bella-Consulting-Firm-LLC_Oakland-Schools_2021-01-22_Contract.pdf ^
  16. Events – Workshop with April Baker-Bell. University at Buffalo. Accessed November 28, 2021. http://www.buffalo.edu/writing/inclusion/events.html ^
  17. Brauer, Beth. “’Thug’ Event Series Examines Language, Tackles Race and Bias.” MSU Today. October 30, 2021. Accessed November 23, 2021. https://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2018/thug-event-series-examines-language-tackles-race-and-bias ^
  18. “Working to Dismantle Systemic Racism in Health Care Delivery.” MSU Today. June 10, 2021. Accessed November 28, 2021. https://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2021/working-to-dismantle-systemic-racism-in-healthcare-delivery ^
  19. Dr. April Baker-Bell. Curriculum Vitae. Academia – Michigan State University. Accessed November 28, 2021. https://michiganstate.academia.edu/DrAprilBakerBell/CurriculumVitae ^
  See an error? Let us know!