Racial Equity in Education

Black Lives Matter at School

As racism and xenophobia become more prevalent and overt in our schools and communities, it is more important than ever to listen to and elevate the voices, experiences, and history of our fellow citizens and communities under attack. The goal of Black Lives Matter at School is to spark an ongoing movement of critical reflection and honest conversation in school communities for people of all ages to engage with issues of racial justice. Find stories, resources and ideas highlighting Black Lives Matter at School from across the country here.
 

#BlackLivesMatterAtSchool Twitter Chat Engages Educators Across U.S.

January 14, 2019

Last month, educators around the country participated in a #BlackLivesMatterAtSchool Twitter chat earlier this week, sharing a “starter kit” to help faciliate local organizing, discussing related teaching resources, and preparing for a national week of action in February 2019.

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Hosted by Black Lives Matter at School, a coalition of educators mobilizing for racial justice in education, the chat started on the @BLMAtSchool Twitter account and seeded discussion with questions such as:

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  • How do you plan to participate in the week of action?
  • How will you use the new “BLM @ School Starter Kit” to launch the movement in your school, district, and/or community?
  • “Schools show Black Lives Matter when they…” How would you answer this prompt? How will you engage students and community member in creatively answering this prompt?

Many participants lauded the starter kit as a valuable resource for ideas on how to initiate conversations – and action – in their schools and communites around racial disparities in education. The kit includes an overview of BLM@School, its guiding principles and priorities, teaching materials, suggestions for age-appropriate discussions about the topic, sample fliers and graphics, FAQs, ideas for local organizing, and more.

“We would like to share the starter kit to get parents, community, and students organized,” wrote Twitter user @Okaikor. “Many don’t know where to start or how to get plugged in. This is a start.”

The Center on Culture, Race & Equity (@CCRE_bsc) tweeted: “In our planning meetings we have used the starter kit to ensure that we are reflecting on the guiding principles of the movement, and to feel supported and inspired by the work that has been done to help set the foundation for our work today.”

The Black Lives at School movement has four core demands:

  1. End “zero tolerance” discipline, and implement restorative justice.
  2. Hire more black teachers.
  3. Mandate black history and ethnic studies in K-12 curriculum.
  4. Fund counselors not cops.

“This is about restorative justice and doing the right thing,” wrote Twitter user @mrgwoods33 in response to a chat prompt asking participants why any of the core demands were important to then. “Our students need positive role models of color and we need to show our care for our students.”

Chat participants also shared and discussed teaching materials and additional resources for educators, including books, videos, web sites, and K-12 lesson plans.

Ethnic studies educator and author Jesse Hagopian (@JessedHagopian) tweeted that he is excited about sharing the 2019 “Creative Challenge” prompt with his students. “I will have my students create posters, videos or essays to display to the school that answer the question: ‘Schools show Black Lives Matter when they….’ ”

Hagopian is also co-editor of the book “Teaching for Black Lives,” published in April 2018 by Rethinking Schools.

During the chat, Teaching for Change (@teachingchange) shared the following image of one elementary student’s response to the 2018 @BLMAtSchool prompt ‘In a School Where Black Lives Matter…” and asked “How are you planning on joining us during the 2019 student creativity challenge?”

 

To browse messages and replies posted during the Twitter chat, search on the hashtag #BlackLivesMatterAtSchool.

 

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February 2019 Week of Action — How to Participate

SHOW SOLIDARITY
Purchase and wear Week of Action shirts. Distribute and post the BLM@School principles around your school. For shirts and posters, visit www.BlackLivesMatterAtSchool.com

SIGN THE PLEDGE
Pledge to grow the movement for racial justice in education. Together, we can work to address the inequities that result from institutionally racist policies and practices in our schools and in the communities in which our students live. Sign the pledge today >

POST ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Take photos of yourself, your peers, students, teachers, your community, or the events you attend and post them on the National Black Lives Matter Week of Action page on Facebook. Follow @BLMAtSchool on Twitter. #BlackLivesMatterAtSchool

 

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TEACH A LESSON
Choose activities from a multitude of BLM principles to teach during or after school, or within any other community spaces. Visit BlackLivesMatterAtSchool.com for links to lesson plans and resources.

ATTEND AN EVENT
Educators in cities around the country will be organizing rallies at school board meetings and city halls on or around Wednesday, February 6th to put forward the four demands of Black Lives Matter at School. Additionally, many cities will be hosting an end of the week Celebration of Blackness on Friday, February 8th. Get in touch with your local organizers or email BlackLivesMatterAtSchool2@gmail.com for more information.

CREATIVE CHALLENGE
Join the Black Lives Matter at School national challenge by responding creatively to the prompt “Schools show that Black Lives Matter when they…” Or have you students respond to the prompt. Be sure to send your artwork, poems or essay to blmphled@gmail.com. Contributions will be post to BlackLivesMatterAtSchool.com and to https://medium.com/national-blm-week-of-action-in-schools

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Find Black Lives Matter at School Events Near You

Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, Chicago, Milwaukee, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore… these are just a few of the scores of cities and communities across the country where educators, students and community organizations are participating in 2019 Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action events.

Click on the map below to find details on local events and actions!

 

 

Put Your Community on the Black Lives Matter at School Map!

Fill out and submit the form below to have your local event added to the map.

  • Please use the box above to provide any additional event details, including location(s), times, links to relevant web pages, etc.

THE CASE FOR TEACHING BLACK LIVES MATTER IN SCHOOLS

Inspired by the Black Lives at School Day organized by educators in Seattle last October, a group of teachers in Philadelphia took the concept a step further. They sponsored a whole week of events around the 13 guiding principles of Black Lives Matter. The results were stunning.

More than 100 schools in the Philadelphia area participated in the action, scores of community organizations and parents pitched in to support the K-12 educators as did more than one hundred higher education faculty in colleges in and around Philadelphia. And because the action week attracted so much media coverage, educators from outside Philadelphia, including educators from New Jersey and Delaware, also took part in the after-school events which were part of the agenda.

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NEA activists launch series of video “primers” for anti-racist white educators

Luke Michener and Terry Jess are both white, male educators who teach at Bellevue High School in Washington state. They feel they have little to add to conversations about race with students and colleagues of color that those students and colleagues don’t already know themselves, based upon their own experiences.

On the other hand, Terry and Luke feel they do have a lot to offer other white educators who are committed to racial equity in education but may not know where to begin.

Inspired by their own work with students, as well as conversations they had at the 2017 NEA Conference on Racial and Social Justice, Terry and Luke set about creating a series of YouTube videos they hoped could provide other white educators with ideas, insights and tools to better engage in racial equity work in their own schools and communities.

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Take Action

Racial Justice in Education

Pledge to take actions that will address access and opportunity for all students by highlighting inequities, increasing awareness, and organizing for change.

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Resources

Talking About Race

See resources, including classroom appropriate lesson plans, along with guides on how to have tough conversations with peers and students.

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Standing Together

See how cities like Milwaukee, Rochester, and Seattle have passed community and union resolutions to support Black Lives Matter at School.

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School Board Activism

Whether you're a regular at your school board meetings or just getting started, here are some tips on working with school boards and making your advocacy for students the best it can be.

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