Black Lives Matter at School
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.
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.
Next for #BlackLivesMatterAtSchool – challenging systemic racism in Seattle schools
In October 2016, more than 2,000 Seattle educators wore Black Lives Matter shirts to school to call for equity in education and to assure their students that “Black lives matter in Seattle public schools.” NEA EdJustice’s Marcha I. Chaudry interviewed activist and Garfield High School teacher Jesse Hagopian, one of the lead organizers of the day.
OneBlair: Students organize for racial unity and end up winning award
In September 2017, teacher Kevin Shindel found “It’s okay to be white” fliers posted on the doors of Montgomery Blair High School.
“Of course it’s okay to be white or any other race,” says Shindel. “What’s not okay is to be ignorant on matters of race.”
Troubled by the pre-election political climate, two of Shindel’s students, Iyanu Bishop, a black senior, and Claire Maske, a white student who graduated last year, started Blair Interracial Dialogues, which morphed into a student-led coalition called OneBlair.
As racism rears its ugly head on college campuses, black students fight back by organizing
Working to empower black students nationwide, NEA’s Community and Partner Engagement department held NEA’s first Black Student Leader Day in October 2017. The day was a crash course in civic advocacy that helps students “turn the crazy things that are happening on campus into a win.”
“No matter what black students are facing—from campus racism to skyrocketing tuition costs, we walked out of this course knowing how to do something about it,” said Caleb Kupa, an NEA student member at Westchester University who’s now even more motivated to challenge racial and social injustices on and off campus.
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.
Racial Justice in Education
Pledge to take actions that will address access and opportunity for all students by highlighting inequities and increasing awareness, organizing for change, and growing the movement.
Talking About Race
See resources, including classroom appropriate lesson plans, along with guides on how to have tough conversations with peers and students.
See how cities like Milwaukee, Rochester, and Seattle have passed community and union resolutions to support Black Lives Matter at School.
Art and Activism
Art, videos, and ideas to engage classrooms and communities to support racial and social justice.