Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Everyone Needs It


Yesterday was the official national observance of the birthday of the late civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior. Many took part in service activities to honor his memory. Some watched films and programs about his work. Some read from his speeches and other writings. Social media timelines were filled with Dr. King’s words of protest, equality, empowerment, and challenge. Frequently quoted:

The time is always right to do what is right.

Meanwhile, in Howard County, I learned that there’s been a flurry of letters to the Board of Education urging them to vote against observing this year’s Black Lives Matter at School Week

Head. Desk.

The events of the last year have shown how hungry our young people are to investigate issues of racial justice. Now is not the right time to suppress that voice.

This year will be the third Black Lives Matter at School Week. I wrote about it for the first time in this piece:

A Crucial Nutrient , February 2019

Our schools have long been deficient in telling the stories of non-white cultures, and our systems have been deficient in treating non-white students with the same respect as whites. Black Lives Matter at School Week is a taste of what we need to do to enrich our classrooms with the knowledge and learning activities that have been missing from our schools. Everyone needs it. 

Participation in Black Lives Matter at School Week is a choice that the Howard County School System has made for the last two years which is consistent with policies it already has in place to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion, and to elevate student voice. There are a variety of activities and lesson plans, created by educators, available from the national parent organization. Schools choose the ones that work for them. 

It’s that simple.

From 2019:

As a parent and a teacher, I feel it is my responsibility to look at what we are teaching our children and think about how it could be better. Is there anything important that’s missing? Are there good things that should be increased? Are there less than useful things we should reduce or eliminate? It is in that same way that we need to look at the long years of inequity in our schools and strive to make improvements, not only for the purpose of boosting Black students, but also to help make all our students aware of a complete and accurate history of our nation and how we all fit into it.

Those words feel just as relevant today as they did when I wrote them. This is not the time to go back on our resolve to be a more truthful and just school environment.

The dates for this year’s event are February 1st - February 7th. The Board of Education will vote on whether the school system will participate this week: January 21st. If you have a moment, please send the Board members an email in support of Black Lives Matter at School Week. It doesn’t need to be fancy. Just state your support for the school system to participate.

  • Black Lives Matter at School Week 
  • February 1st - 7th
  • The goal of Black Lives Matter at School is to spark an ongoing movement of critical reflection and honest conversation in school communities for people of all ages to engage with issues of racial justice.
  • Elevates student voice; fosters diversity, equity, and inclusion
Send your emails ASAP to: BOE@hcpss.org and student_member@hcpss.org .

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