At least 25 school systems across the country are using the first full week of Black History Month to enlighten students about the fight for Black liberation–dubbing it ‘Black Lives Matter Week of Action.’
The observation, which was first introduced in Philadelphia last year according to Philly.com, spread after Philadelphia educators planned an organizing effort last summer, spurring interest of educators across the United States.
“I think this gives students a platform and the language that they need to talk about the injustices in society,” said Clarice Brazas, an English teacher at the U School in North Philadelphia.
From February 5 -10, students ranging from elementary school to high school will participate in a range of activities including thought-provoking conversations, theatrical performances, lunch-and-learns and expressions through art, the outlet reports.
Organizers have a three-prong agenda for this year–centered around making a more inclusive environment for students of color which includes ending zero-tolerance discipline for students, hiring and retaining teachers of color, and organizing anti racism training and multicultural studies in the curriculum.
Numerous reports have concluded that Black students face harsher suspension rates than their peers. As we previously reported, female students of color are perceived less innocent than their peers. And while Black students make up only 16 percent of the student population, Black teachers only account for seven percent according to a 2016 Department of Education report based on the 2011-2012 school year.
“They live in a world where they see injustices and inequalities every single day of their lives,” said Angela Crawford, who teaches at Martin Luther King High School in Philadelphia. “It’s the shoes they walk in. It’s important they have an opportunity to express how they feel, to find solutions,” concluded the educator who has taught for 18 years.
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