According to James Baldwin, “The obligation of anyone who thinks of himself as responsible is to examine society and try to change it and to fight it no matter what risk. This is the only hope society has. This is the only way societies change.” We are living during a time where it is imperative that we all begin to practice critical thinking and reflection. Who wouldn’t want to support that? Who wouldn’t want to provide a means for every student and educator to be able to question and figure out solutions to the issues that affect Philadelphia? Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action shines a light on issues such as housing, hunger, gun violence, trauma, large class sizes, hazardous school environments, and inequity in school funding, which are worse in Black, Brown and marginalized communities.
As educators, parents, students, and community members gear up for the third annual Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action in Philadelphia, the Racial Justice Committee of WE wanted to take a minute to share our excitement and gratitude for the over 50 supporters and national endorsements.
We want to thank all of the individuals, unions, districts, and community groups who said YES to Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action. Because a YES means YES to the hiring of more Black educators. YES to anti-racist training, ethnic studies, and African-American studies for ALL educators and students. YES to the end of zero-tolerance policies. And YES to Funding Counselors and Not Cops.
This is the second year that BLM Week has been a national event, and the incredible work that is being done in other cities, as well as the growing list of endorsing districts and unions across the nation is inspiring. In 2018, the NEA passed a resolution supporting Black Lives Matter in Schools. Both NEA and AFT locals have passed union resolutions and statements supporting the National Black Lives Matter Week of Action, including the Chicago Teachers’ Union; United Teachers of Los Angeles; Washington Teacher’s Union; New Jersey Education Association; Seattle Education Association; Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association; Reynolds Education Association; Edmund’s Education Association; Boston Teachers Union; with additional unions continuing to sign on as the week begins.
Also, authors and activists like Jonathan Kozol, Black Lives Matter co-founder Opal Tometi, Massachusetts Teachers Association President Barbara Madeloni, UTLA President Alex Caputo Pearl, Activist, Journalist and Attorney Michael Coard of Avenging the Ancestors and dozens of others have endorsed the National Black Lives Matter at Schools Week.
As the list of supporters from our own city grows, it illustrates the strong desire and fight for racial justice present in the grassroots organizing community. So far, organizations, individuals, and community groups such as PA State Representative Jordan Harris, POWER, Our City Our Schools, 215PA, Philadelphia Student Union, Laborers’ District Council, Black Lives Matter - Philadelphia, Reclaim Philly, and many others have joined in on the fight for racial justice for the students and communities in Philadelphia. You can read the Statement of Support and the list of endorsing organizations for the Week in Philly here.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, once said, “Even the press, the classroom, the platform, and the pulpit in many instances do not give us objective and unbiased truths. To save man from the morass of propaganda... Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction.” It is not too late to say YES and add your organization onto the list of supporters!