Show Your Solidarity With Black Lives Matter This Week!

The Black Lives Matter Week of Action starts tomorrow!

Remember to wear your Black Lives Matter t-shirts and buttons this week!  Pick a day - starting tomorrow - that works for your building to wear and take a group picture.

  1. Take selfies and group shots in your t-shirts and buttons
  2. Post them on social media using #BLMPhlEd and #BlackLivesMatterAtSchool
  3. Email: blmphled@gmail.com and we'll share it.
You'll join educators and students for their t-shirt actions all over the country - from Seattle, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, Boston, and more.
 
Join the week of action for a full calendar of events below:


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Teaching About Activism in the NFL

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Philadelphia Eagle Malcolm Jenkins speaking on a panel during the 2017 Black Lives Matter Week Of Action. Jenkins is of one of many NFL players who have taken a political stand both on and off the field in recent years. 

This year’s Black Lives Matter Week of Action (February 5-10, 2018) takes place the week following Super Bowl 52, the culminating moment of an NFL season which featured powerful, high-profile displays of activism. While the initial purpose of the #TakeAKnee movement was muddied after Donald Trump’s incendiary remarks, it’s important to consider the initial goal of Colin Kaepernick’s action: to call attention to the persistent injustices faced by Black people in the United States. It is shocking to consider that what provoked so much discussion in September and October has been nearly eliminated from the popular conversation at the end of this NFL season.

The articles and lesson plans below contain a variety of approaches to covering activism in sports, from a deep dive into responses to NFL protests to a consideration of their place in the history of sports activism to an analysis of the rights of students and teachers to protest to an inquiry into why the energy around this activism dwindled towards the end of the season.

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Coming Off The Sidelines For Black Lives Matter Week

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During undergrad, I was taught that teachers should be blank slates when it came to any political issue. I was taught teachers should never attempt to influence students or touch on what some would consider sensitive issues. For the first few years of my teaching, I went along with this philosophy. When students asked me questions, I would say, “develop your own thoughts.” I would tell them it wasn’t my place to share my opinion. 

Then, I began teaching at a school in Dekalb County, right outside of Atlanta.

The student population at this school is about 60% African-American and 40% immigrant and refugee. When I started teaching there, I realized for my students, much like myself, everything was political. When your body is at risk, everything from the way we fund and teach in schools to who we elect as president is political. I couldn’t and wouldn’t stand in front of my students and refuse to take a stance on issues that mattered to their bodies. When one student’s mother was deported, she rightfully went into a tailspin. Had I stood in the front of the room and said I didn’t have an opinion on immigration, I could have lost her forever.

I still agree students should develop their own opinions, but I no longer believe I should keep my own a secret.

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Community Orgs, Academics Support Black Lives Matter Week

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The Black Lives Matter Week of Action (#BLMPhlED #BlackLivesMatterAtSchool) - this year, taking hold at the national level - is grounded in a larger movement for social change. This work does not only happen in schools -- it relies on organizations and individuals of all kinds to build and sustain grassroots power as we work for racial and economic justice.

Who else can get involved? 

Community Organizations

For the second year in a row, organizations are signing a statement of support of the Black Lives Matter Week of Action in our schools.

In addition, many are signing on to co-organize and cosponsor work and events before, during, and beyond the week.  These include an opening panel with LGBTQ youth of color at the Penn LGBTQ Center; an open conversation on domestic violence and sexual assault with the Philadelphia Home and School Council, Mazzoni Center, and the Philadelphia Writing Project; and a roundtable on colorism at the Community College of Philadelphia.

This is the work that truly makes a Week of Action in our schools possible!

Are you part of an organization that would like to sign on to support the week or do you have ideas about how the week can support your own organization's work? Click here to add your organization to the list, and email BLMPhlED@gmail.com with any questions.

Academics and Institutions of Higher Education

Similar to last year, scholars, faculty, and staff in institutions of higher education are circulating a letter of support for the week of action, beginning Monday, January 15. In addition to signing a statement of support, higher-education educators are also incorporating the 13 BLM guiding principles in their courses Feb 5-10 and participating in events on their campuses.

The efforts to support student leadership, expanded dialogue, and deepen community connections are highlighted during the week but intended to continue long outside of the week of action. Students, faculty, and community members are partnering to organize ways to support and strategize ongoing racial justice and equity in their local universities and schools.

Want to sign the statement of support?  Click here to add your name.

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In Its Second Year, Black Lives Matter Week of Action Goes National

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Just a few of the educators who participated in last year's BLM week -- here at Kensington CAPA High School. 

“Your silence will not protect you.” - Audre Lorde

As 2018 begins, our schools continue to manifest structural inequality created by racial injustices at all levels of the education system.  From the impact of zero tolerance policies that criminalize Black and Brown students and the exclusion of voices of people of color from curriculum, to the persistent loss of teachers of color from urban schools, the movement for Black Lives has never mattered more in the fight for the schools our students deserve.

We are working for a world where Black lives are no longer systematically targeted for demise. - #BlackLivesMatter

The Racial Justice Committee of the Caucus of Working Educators, and organizations across Philadelphia, including UrbED, PhillyCAM, the Philadelphia Writing Project, the Philadelphia Home and School Association, Parents United for Public Education, and the Teacher Action Group - are organizing the second annual week highlighting the 13 guiding principles of the Black Lives Matter Movement in order to organize for racial and economic justice required to shift the inequalities impacting the lives of students, families, and educators working in Philadelphia’s public schools.  In 2018, the week of action is nationwide, with educators and organizations participating in schools and cities across the country.

This year, we are taking our work to the next level, making national and local demands in order to end structural racism in our school systems.  

During the week and beyond, we will organize around three main local demands, which are tied to demands on a national level: ending zero tolerance policies, requiring anti-racism training for all Philadelphia educators, and hiring and retaining of teachers of color in Philadelphia’s public schools.

 

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