"Having the Black Lives Matter at School week is such an important progression. Our focus on social justice and equity, our coming to an understanding, myself included, needs to be more than just history, black or African American history, or Latino history. It needs to be about teaching our students what has come before them, how it matters today, and how they can use it for agency in their own lives.
Some often say that 'we have done so much in public education to be more inclusive and that everybody should be treated the same.' In theory that sounds good. But this also ignores certain people and the situations they experience.
If we want all children to be treated the same, this means all children's voices need to be heard. If that makes anyone uncomfortable, really and truly, then what does that say about the inclusion of all voices? I think the whole idea of not recognizing the different voices and not recognizing the different lives people live is in itself hurtful.
Students need to know more than just history. Let's talk about the history of those who look like you, who were your age, how they learned to organize, prepare, lead, and fight for their freedom, and push out their messages. It's really about helping students channel their fear, anxiety, and anger into something constructive and that empowers them. This allows them to see themselves as leaders.
The purpose of Black Lives Matter is not about excluding anyone. It is about uplifting the voices that have gone unheard for so many years—voices that have been marginalized. These voices matter, their lives, culture, identity, and humanity matters. When you say to them, 'I see you. I hear you. I want to hear more from you,' that changes and impacts students in a good way. It's about empowering them, not hurting or excluding anyone."
–Tinisha Shaw, @ncaepics
Curriculum Facilitator & Test Coordinator, Greensboro, NC
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