Wednesday, February 07, 2018
Black Lives Matter At School
"NOW THEREFORE, BE IT
RESOLVED, that the Seattle School Board declares that the lives of our black students matter, as well as the lives of all of our students of color; and therefore be it further
RESOLVED, that the School Board encourages participation district-wide in the Black Lives Matter At School Week from February 5-9, 2018 through discussions in classrooms and in homes."
I feel grateful to live in a city whose school board encourages its educators to embrace an active role in naming injustice and promoting equality. One of the reasons I love my neighborhood school in Beacon Hill is that I know that in addition to being majority minority, it's intentional about having a global agenda, identifying inequity, teaching students to think critically and celebrating black lives and the people of color who have been shaped history and culture.
That said, having a child in a school like mine let's me off the hook a little. Or rather, I let myself off the hook by leaning on the great stuff the school is already doing and not getting too involved in the day to day. I pay the PTA membership and I show up to the occasional event, but I've never gone to a meeting. I'm busy with all the things and its hard to think about adding one more. I know I'm not alone.
Then I read this article on the SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) website: "Act In" Where You Already Are. The author talks about finding allies in the activities and organizations in which we're already a part and advocating and agitating for racial justice there. "Racism is everywhere," she says, "We don't have to go to a special meeting to take action for racial justice. As families, we engage with a lot of people outside of “activist world” and can bring them into racial justice work through the mutual interest of raising kids in a world without racism."
So I don't go to PTA meetings. But I do have several other involvements (including this church gig with all of you) where I can think about putting anti-racism energy. Maybe you do go to the PTA meetings (I know some of you definitely do) and you can find allies in inviting a guest speaker or panel to talk about raising race-conscious kids. Maybe you go to a library storytime that would entertain the question of using more people of color in books (and drawing attention to it). Maybe you're in a book club that would choose to read books by people of color. Maybe you work in a workplace that would be willing to support systemic anti-racism training like this one. I don't know...but you might! And there are some concrete suggestions in the article and all over the SURJ website.
Last week a flyer got sent home in the backpacks of the kids in our school saying a little bit about what was going to be happening in school this week and suggestions for follow up. But I know that using the curriculum is voluntary. So I hope you're able to find way to advocate for justice in your communities and with your kids.
And a couple more resources to end on:
If you are interested in a workshop on how to be a better ally, check on the White Ally Toolkit this Saturday hosted by Valley and Mountain, The Well, and Kids4Peace Seattle.
Second, I've always got you with the book suggestions. I just discovered a new Instagramer to follow: @hereweeread is a 'diversity and inclusion expert' and her Instagram features books (mostly for kids but some for adults as well) that celebrate black lives and accomplishments. Below are a couple of screen caps from her feed...so good!