From February 4-8, 2019, Teaching for Change's D.C. Area Educators for Social Justice, D.C. area educators, and community members collaborated on the D.C. Area Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action. This week of action built on the momentum of 2018’s successful week of action and the National Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action campaign taking place in cities across the U.S. to promote a set of national demands based in the Black Lives Matter guiding principles that focus on improving the school experience for students of color.
The Black Lives Matter movement is a powerful, non-violent peace movement that systematically examines injustices that exist at the intersections of race, class, and gender; including mass incarceration, poverty, non-affordable housing, income disparity, homophobia, unfair immigration laws, gender inequality, and poor access to healthcare.
Each day explored two to three of the Black Lives Matter guiding principles. In school, teachers across the area implemented Black Lives Matter Week of Action curriculum designed for pre-K through 12th-grade classrooms. In the evening, there were events for educators, students, stakeholders, and community members to actively engage in the movement.
The goal of the Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action is to spark an ongoing movement of critical reflection and honest conversations in school communities for people of all ages to engage with critical issues of social justice. It is our duty as educators and community members to civically engage students and build their empathy, collaboration, and agency so they are able to thrive. Students must learn to examine, address, and grapple with issues of racism and discrimination that persist in their lives and communities.