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Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action | February 3-7, 2020

Black Lives Matter Week of Action

This week is National Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action! The week was created to help promote a set of national demands based on the Black Lives Matter guiding principles that focus on improving the school experience for students of color.

Throughout the week, educators from across the country will engage students in lessons about structural racism, intersectional Black identities, Black history, and anti-racist movements.

DPS Resolution recognizing BLMASWOA (Feb. 3-7, 2020)

During the June 27, 2019, DPS Board of Education meeting, a resolution was proposed and unanimously approved to recognize February 3-7, 2020 as Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action. CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE RESOLUTION

National Demands

  • End Zero Tolerance - Focus our Schools on Restorative Justice. The use of zero tolerance in public schools stops now. The over-policing, out of control suspensions, and expulsions must be brought to an immediate end. To rebuild our structures, we will focus our resources on restorative justice-the organic appointment of community leaders; mediation and processing; and equitable perspectives on rehabilitation. Ending zero tolerance and focusing our schools around restorative justice will honor an autonomous voice and vision for students, staff, and faculty.

  • Black Teacher Pushout Ends Now! - Hire More Black Teachers in our Schools. Nine U.S. cities demonstrate a rapid decline in the number of Black Teachers: Boston, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Cleveland, New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington DC. This leaves a mighty burden on the Black Teachers and Service Providers who are left behind and viewed as “disciplinarians.” Racist policies in schools and biased skills exams eliminate Black and Brown teaching candidates. We must increase teacher retention and opportunities for teachers of color.

    The elimination of Black teachers is an aggressive push towards homogenizing education in America, creating the School to Prison Pipeline, and honoring the pervasive system of racism from which our country gains its roots. Studies show that students excel academically when they are taught from someone in their own racial group. This message of inequity negatively impacts our student's aptitude for learning and limits the scopes of their dreams. Our Black Teachers need our support and deserve to no longer be abandoned.

  • Black History/Ethnic Studies Mandated K-12 - A classroom is incomplete if there is only one history taught to its students. The exclusion of Black History and Ethnic studies curriculum ends now. Our students of color deserve to feel empowered in the classroom, by seeing themselves in the curriculum and reading materials. Black History and Ethnic Studies must be included in K-12 classrooms. To effectively do this, all teachers are mandated to participate in university and certification programs before blindly infusing Black history or Ethnic Studies into their curriculum. This will ensure that these changes occur with informed tools and dedication.

  • Fund Counselors Not Cops - Our newest demand is simple: children need counselors, not cops. Schools today spend an enormous amount of their financial resources hiring school resource officers and local police officers. These same schools often lack enough counselors for students to receive the support they need. We have seen videos of horrifying interactions with police officers and Black students in school and each week we hear of Black people having the police called on them for simply existing while Black. The reality is our schools need counselors for children. The amount of racial trauma and adverse childhood experiences Black students experience continues to increase. We demand that schools provide counselors who have manageable caseloads that allow them to provide quality service to all students. 

13 Guiding Principles

Organizers have assigned the themes to specific days during the week of action based on the Black Lives Matter movement’s 13 guiding principles:

 Monday, February 3, 2020

  • Restorative Justice - We are committed to collectively, lovingly and courageously working vigorously for freedom and justice for Black people and, by extension all people. As we forge our path, we intentionally build and nurture a beloved community that is bonded together through a beautiful struggle that is restorative, not depleting.

  • Empathy - We are committed to practicing empathy; we engage comrades with the intent to learn about and connect with their contexts.

  • Loving Engagement - We are committed to embodying and practicing justice, liberation, and peace in our engagements with one another. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

  • Diversity - We are committed to acknowledging, respecting and celebrating difference(s) and commonalities.

  • Globalism - We see ourselves as part of the global Black family and we are aware of the different ways we are impacted or privileged as Black folk who exist in different parts of the world.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

  • Collective Value - We are guided by the fact all Black lives, regardless of actual or perceived sexual identity, gender identity, gender expression, economic status, ability, disability, religious beliefs or disbeliefs, immigration status or location.

  • Transgender Affirming - We are committed to embracing and making space for trans brothers and sisters to participate and lead. We are committed to being self-reflexive and doing the work required to dismantle cis-gender privilege and uplift Black trans folk, especially Black trans women who continue to be disproportionately impacted by trans-antagonistic violence.

  • Queer Affirming - We are committed to fostering a queer‐affirming network. When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking or, rather, the belief that all in the world are heterosexual unless s/he or they disclose otherwise.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

  • Intergenerational - We are committed to fostering an intergenerational and communal network free from ageism. We believe that all people, regardless of age, show up with the capacity to lead and learn.

  • Black Families - We are committed to making our spaces family-friendly and enable parents to fully participate with their children. We are committed to dismantling the patriarchal practice that requires mothers to work “double shifts” that require them to mother in private even as they participate in justice work.

  • Black Villages - We are committed to disrupting the Western prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, and especially “our” children to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.

Friday, February 7, 2020

  • Unapologetically Black - We are unapologetically Black in our positioning. In affirming that Black Lives Matter, we need not qualify our position. To love and desire freedom and justice for ourselves is a necessary prerequisite for wanting the same for others.

  • Black Women - We are committed to building a Black woman affirming space free from sexism, misogyny, and male‐centeredness.

Classroom/Community Resources

  • The DPS Office of Equity Affairs has compiled a resource guide for teaching about each of the 13 principles of the Black Lives Matter Movement in early childhood through high school, as well as bilingual/multilingual resources. CLICK HERE TO VIEW

  • Thanks to stunning art and design by New York City educator Caryn Davidson, we now have an indispensable #BlackLivesMatterAtSchool Activity book, "What We Believe." This resource is free and downloadable. CLICK HERE TO VIEW

  • Looking for additional classroom resources? CLICK HERE TO VIEW