Black Lives Matter
In light of the growing resistance and mainstream attention toward systemic racism, we are providing some resources that take a look at the immediate context: how COVID-19 exposes historical inequality, how the recent murders of Black bodies by police force speak to historical anti-Black racism, and why people have been protesting to protect Black lives.
While the pandemics of COVID-19 and anti-Blackness are often situated in the health and law enforcement fields, educational settings are also implicated in threats to Black lives, and educators have a responsibility to validate and affirm the worth of Black students, families and colleagues by taking an antiracist stance.
Black Lives Matter at School is a national coalition organizing for racial justice in education. In the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and others named and unnamed, a great Uprising for Black Lives has swept the nation and the world, inciting new urgency and radical possibilities for advancing abolitionist practice and uprooting institutional racism. Keep track of the latest updates including: news, resources, Year of Purpose, and how to get involved.
Listen to the recorded conversation about making Black lives matter in our schools and beyond as part of this year's Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action.
In her foreword to Black Lives Matter at School: An Uprising for Educational Justice Opal Tometi writes: "Both within classrooms and outside the school grounds, Black lives are under threat. The events that led to the creation of Black Lives Matter—the murder in 2012 of Trayvon Martin and the acquittal of his killer—weren’t isolated events. The culture of endangering Black lives is something students know well from inside their very own classrooms. . . Young people deserve safe, affirming environments where they know without a shadow of a doubt that their lives matter. The work that supporters of Black Lives Matter at School are doing is making this happen."
This brochure is being made available free of charge to all members of the community. It has three purposes: To outline for people their rights when interacting and communicating with the police; To inform people of their responsibilities and obligations any time they (or a family member or friend) have contact or involvement with police officers; and To promote improved relations and understanding between members of the community and the police.
With students dispersed, schools and our society must confront long-simmering inequities. Dena Simmons reflects, examines and offers perspectives and strategies to address the illumination of existing inequities for students dealing with "school lessons ended abruptly—projects unfinished, conversations pending, graduations cancelled, and pivotal experiences stolen" and social distancing that is "not the same for everyone."
Engage your family in a discussion about the killing of George Floyd, how bias and hate escalate, and the larger context of systemic racism.
Talk with your family about the purpose, history and impact of protests.
"A lot of kind statements about black people are coming from the pens and minds of white people now. That's a good thing. But sometimes, it is frankly hard to tell the difference between expressions of solidarity and gestures of absolution." In her article for The Atlantic, Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, Imani Perry, affirms and explains, "So many people taught us to be more than the hatred headed upon us."
In this Education Week article, Madeline Will highlights how educators across the country are helping their students work through recent civil unrest by creating opportunity and space for their students to be heard.
Many white parents wonder whether to talk with their kids at all, while parents of color swallow their grief and fear to have "the talk" once again. USA TODAY talks with Beverly Daniel Tatum, a psychologist and author of "Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race" and Erlanger Turner, a clinical psychologist and assistant professor of psychology at Pepperdine University who studies mental health among racial communities.
This article by Tyrone C. Howard for Education Week outlines deliberate steps educators can take to end anti-Black racism in schools. Dr. Howard stresses inaction will cause irreparable harm to Black students and leave and indelible imprint on the minds of non-Black students.
Award winning author, Professor and Director, Antiracist Research & Policy Center, Ibram X. Kendi, defines his theory of anti-racism and more specifically how it can be applied in schools. In this interview style article, Kendi explains that for education to truly be equitable schools must go further than individualized learning and culturally relevant pedagogy. He urges teachers and administrators to examine policies and practices that are themselves racist in order to make real change in the students’ experience.
David E. Kirkland is a professor of urban education at New York University and serves as the executive director of The Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools. During this crucial intermission, he writes, "To get to different results when schools reopen, we must embrace new aims, embrace hard truths that we have so long too comfortably evaded." He provides three things we can do now to promote racial justice and center equity as we prepare to go back to school.
Yes, curriculum can be violent—whether you intend it or not. Here’s what it looks like and how you can avoid it. In this Teaching Tolerance Magazine feature, Stephanie P. Jones writes "Intentionality is not a prerequisite for harmful teaching. Intentionality is also not a prerequisite for racism. Curriculum violence occurs when educators and curriculum writers have constructed a set of lessons that damage or otherwise adversely affect students intellectually and emotionally."
The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, studies the psychology, sociology, and neuroscience of well-being, and teaches skills that foster a thriving, resilient, and compassionate society. In response to the killing of unarmed Black people by police, Greater Good has gathered pieces that explore our potential to reduce prejudice in society and ourselves.