by Marsha Rakestraw
News headlines remind us daily that racial injustice and violence and discrimination against Black people (and other people of color) continue to thrive, and the impact on people of color, especially children and families, is significant and long-lasting.
With school systems in the US made up largely of white teachers, many schools are oblivious to the need to explore and address issues of systemic racism, societal discrimination, equity and inclusion, and white privilege and supremacy – or are reluctant to do so.
The first week of February celebrates the Black Lives Matter at School National Week of Action, which is dedicated to affirming the lives of Black students, teachers, and families and to organizing for racial justice in education.
The Week of Action includes a list of demands, including:
- end “zero tolerance” discipline and implement restorative justice
- mandate Black history and ethnic studies in K-12 curriculum
- hire more black teachers
- hire counselors, not cops
Each day focuses on one or more of the 13 guiding principles of Black Lives Matter, from empathy and loving engagement, to intergenerational and Black families, to diversity and globalism.
Schools around the US will be participating in a variety of ways.
Here are several resources with insights, lesson plans, and more to help bring these issues to your students and school community.
Teaching for Black Lives by Rethinking Schools
This book pushes back against the anti-Black racism that permeates US society and systems and offers a collection of essays, activities, and resources for humanizing “Black people in curriculum, teaching, and policy.”
Black Lives Matter at School Curriculum Resource Guide by Black Lives Matter at School
The BLM@School curriculum committee has created lessons for “every grade level” that “relate to the 13 principles of Black Lives Matter.”
Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action Resources for Educators by Teaching for Change
This site offers a collection of readings and booklists on BLM topics and suggested lesson plans organized by the BLM@School daily themes.
Black Lives Matter at School Week Lesson Plans by Seattle Public Schools
In 2018, teachers created a series of lessons to help students understand inequities based on race, understand and affirm the experiences of people of color, and work toward equity.
Black Lives Matter at School by NEA EdJustice
This site offers a curated list of articles and resources about what schools around the US are doing to support and celebrate Black Lives Matter at School.
Black Lives Matter Lesson Series by Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility
Three lessons (from 2016) serve as an introduction to the origins of the BLM movement.
Black Lives Matter Syllabus by Frank Leon Roberts
NYU instructor Frank Leon Roberts has created a Black Lives Matter course. This site collects past syllabi from the course, offering numerous useful resources to adopt.
A Vision for Black Lives by The Movement for Black Lives
This site includes a detailed outline of more than 30 policy briefs, with the steps they believe must be taken, information about legislation needed at different levels (local, state, federal), groups already working on these policies, and helpful resources.
- Black Lives Matter
- Environmental Racism and Environmental Justice Issues
- Race, Racism, Discrimination and Prejudice
- Teaching About Race and Racism
- Teaching and Learning About Intersectionality
Be sure to forward this to at least ONE person who would benefit from these resources.