“The heartbeat of racism is denial.” A Statement from the National Black Lives Matter at School Steering Committee
“The heartbeat of racism is denial.” — Ibram X. Kendi
This is the time to no longer be silent or blind to systemic injustice that not only exists in our education systems but also where and how it manifests in our neighborhoods.
Melinda D. Anderson’s article from the NYTimes asks us: What can we learn from a Black child who would rather attend school online than return to a brick and mortar building where racial trauma assaults her ability to learn? How do we support a Black mother struggling to ensure her children receive the best education during a global pandemic, but hesitant to send them back to an institution that historically provides them with an inferior education?
Many of us can empathize with these stories because they resonate with our own experiences as learners in Black bodies navigating an inherently racist institution. As educators, we work to create environments that affirm Black humanity and center Black joy and mattering. As parents, we cloak our children in the Black love needed to sustain their developing identities and call upon the ancestors to guide them through a threatening and dangerous world. As co-conspirators, we listen to the lived experiences of others, learn from their struggles, follow their lead, and use our privilege to dismantle systems of oppression. We form a village to protect this child and support this mother.
The village is needed now more than ever. Instead of empathizing and offering support, others chose to deny, demean, and threaten this child and mother. They worry more about tarnishing the image of the school than addressing the racist environment of this child and many who look like her experience daily. They accuse the mother of exploiting her child instead of asking their own children how they treat Black children at school. Or examine the racialized structure of the school system and how it oppresses BIPOC students. And they suggest posting their address on social media so others can harass and harm them because they dared to speak their truths. These parents of children in this school district, make it clear through their vile and hateful responses, that this child is right to be wary of returning to this toxic environment. They insist there is no racism in their school district, but quickly turn to racist attacks to respond to an article about the racism they refuse to acknowledge. And the district insists that their “social justice” curriculum and commitment to a safe learning environment is more than enough to deny this child’s reality. This collective denial is another form of racism that reinforces the need for the village.
The Black Lives Matter at School National Steering Committee strives to be the village that protects all Black lives from oppressive and racist institutions of learning. We work to enact a space where Black youth are educated in guiding principles rooted in Black liberation. We demand practices that honor the brilliance of Black youth, Black educators, and Black history and culture. We put forth a vision for loving Blackness all year long. We refuse to allow white denial of anti-Black racism to interfere with our purpose and we refuse to stop until Black thriving in educational spaces is the norm. Period.
December 2, 2020 at 5 PM - Get your tickets here
Join us for the launch of Black Lives Matter at School: An Uprising for Education Justice, an essential collection of essays, interviews, poems, resolutions, and more from educators, students, and activists who have been building the Black Lives Matter at School movement across the country, including a foreword by Opal Tometi.
Black Lives Matter at School Year of Purpose:
Join Black Lives Matter at School, the WA State NAACP Youth Council, and National Educators United on October 14th at 5 pm PDT/8 pm EDT for a town hall to celebrate George Floyd’s birthday. We'll have educators, students, and activists speaking from Minneapolis, Louisville, and around the country.
The Uprising for Black lives has prompted the Black Lives Matter at School movement to expand its annual Week of Action the first week of February to a “Year of Purpose”. We ask educators to participate in intentional days of action throughout the school year uplifting different intersectional themes vital to making Black lives matter in schools, communities, and beyond.
“Justice for George” is a day to remember him and call for the defunding of the police and the redirecting of those funds towards social programs and education. In addition, we ask educators to reflect on their own work in relationship to antiracist pedagogy and abolitionist practice, persistently challenging themselves to center Black lives in their classrooms.
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Curriculum Resources for Justice for George Day
Original Post - Click Here
Written by: Christopher Rodgers
“I only debate my equals, all others I teach.” — John Henrik Clarke. Offered on behalf of the National Steering Committee for Black Lives Matter At School.
As PK-12 schools and universities across the nation are entering the school year, Black Lives Matter at School has taken the origins of our movement from a Day of Action, to a Week of Action, to a Year of Purpose — this, all behind the backdrop of youth-led global uprisings in the name of the Movement for Black Lives. We stand in our purpose. We believe wholeheartedly in our mission. As Assata Shakur teaches us, we know we have nothing to lose but our chains.
We are witnessing language, organizing practices, and organizational principles that abolitionists and anti-racist organizers have relied upon for several decades entering the mainstream discourse for today’s movements, catalyzing a bold new generation of activism. This heightened awareness of the work has attracted the likes of the President and other white-supremacist mouthpieces to rehash strategies that criminalize the teaching of histories and perspectives that enliven the struggle for a beloved community and a just world order. This is not simply a matter of public school curriculum policy, but rather widely emblematic of how movements against free speech have their origins in stabilizing white violence in the public sphere. We know these recent pronouncements are not without precedent (Thank you as always, Zinn Education Project!) and it has drawn us to deeply reflect on a long history of state-sanctioned repression of freedom movements, both domestic and foreign, that the United States has used to maintain what bell hooks terms as imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy. Conceptual frameworks like critical race theory (CRT), curated syllabi/resource guides like the BLM@School Curriculum Resource Guide, and critical historical analysis like the 1619 Project are indispensable to providing foundations for principled struggle, abolitionist visions, and radical imagination.
We are watching right before our very eyes the ways in which white supremacy is gasping for its very life, exposing what many have always known as its hydra-like tentacles constraining life across education, healthcare, economic policy and the environment. The rising tide of fascism is striving to reinforce the death-dealing practices that generations of activists have persistently resisted. It’s critical we recognize the radical possibility emerging from Black-led grassroots struggle that, and this must be understood, both of our national-level political parties are attempting to foreclose. We hold on to the power of the vote to challenge fascist consolidation, while also recognizing that our toolbox for liberation requires we must reach beyond electoral politics toward a much more expansive horizon of struggle. As Awo Okaikor Aryee-Price has named for us, we must move through this year of purpose into a lifetime of practice. We challenge you all to articulate what means for your professional and, more importantly, personal transformation. This is what the YEAR OF PURPOSE is here to provide support for you and your communities to do.
To close this letter on recommitting to our mission and in the spirit of providing a platform for teaching, we turn to our ancestor Toni Morrison to support our analysis. We are excited about February where after the Week of Action (Feb 1–5), we shall celebrate the first annual Morrison/Lorde Day (February 18th) in our communities. We encourage educators and all those who work for a world where Black Lives Matter to share this with youth and families as well. It is concise, yet teeming with clarity; undeniably a lesson worth teaching for our times.
User Clip: Toni Morrison - Racism and Fascism
Clip Of Howard University 128th Anniversary This clip, title, and description were not created by C-SPAN. User-Created…
Here’s the link to the excerpted speech in the Journal of Negro Education.
Morrison, T. (1995). Racism and fascism. Journal of Negro Education, 64(3).
Morrison, T. (1995). Racism and fascism. Journal of Negro Education, 64(3).
Clarifying the Movement History of the Black Lives Matter Week of Action, or #BlackLivesMatterAtSchool
Original article - Click here
Letter to the Milwaukee Public School's