Teachers Plan for 2019 Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action
On November 13, educators from across the D.C. area gathered for the first planning meeting for the upcoming 2019 Black Lives Matter at School week of action happening, February 4-8, 2019. Rosalie Reyes and Nqobile Mthethwa shared some of the highlights from the national campaign and the 2018 BLM Week of Action in DC. Educators then dove into a written reflection prompted by the questions:
How do you hope to participate in this year’s BLM Week of Action? What is a memorable moment from the week of action either from your classroom, something you observed, or something you read?
Here are some of their responses:
“I hope to plan lessons for our teachers to highlight the importance/history of BLM movement and to build equity and diversity at our school.”
“Last year, we did the role play activity around the Tulsa Race Riots during BLM Week of Action. My students were (1) enraged that they had never heard of this event, (2) completely engaged and active during class (3) insisted that we go into more depth about other lesser-known (read: not dominant narrative) events or movements, which led to our unit on social movements.”
“I am thinking about focusing on activism and using books and current events to build up to the Black Lives Matter at Schools week.”
Then participants engaged in a conversation on race and equity in schools with Beyond Heroes and Holidays editor Enid Lee. She asked attendees to reflect on the current state of Black lives in their schools.
Following the dialogue with Enid Lee, everyone gathered in groups by grade level, spanning from early childhood to higher education to brainstorm for the upcoming week of action.
Below are highlights from the four groups:
Ideas to engage families
Unpack vocabulary for parents and families
Share developmental timeline: racial identities
Inviting families in the classroom
Ideas for the classroom
Teaching young children restorative practices
Library inventory, “Who do we see? Who do we not see as much?”
How might we use mixed media during the Week of Action?
Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Daniel Tatum
I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel (gender identities)
The Colors of Us by Karen Katz
Need more intersectional resources here.
Focus on restorative justice
A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara
Milo’s Museum by Zetta Elliott (raising questions on representation and activism)
Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan (beautiful reclamation of humanization of narrative of Africans who were enslaved)
How might we begin this work now, leading up to the week of action?
Higher Ed/ University
Equity seminars for all entering first-year students
Healing spaces for students/staff of color
Speakers, films, and other University-sponsored events highlighting non-dominant narratives
Telling the complete history of the land on which the campus sits -> history/truth telling processes, memorialization, and reparations
Grounding University/College culture around themes of interdependent community, inclusion, and radical shared power and strategize long term institutional/policy change regarding differential pay, campus police, discipline, admissions, resource allocation, and decision making.
While brainstorming, educators explored the 13 Guiding Principles and the 4 National Demands for the Black Lives Matter at Schools Week of Action:
The meeting was held at the Inspired Teaching Demonstration School, which last year engaged in whole school activities for Black Lives Matter Week of Action in Schools.
Endorse the week of action and join us during our next planning meeting on Wednesday, December 5 at 6:00pm at the Southeast Library (403 7th St SE/Eastern Market Metro). Learn more about the week of action and sign up to participate.
Teaching for Change
Center for Inspired Teaching