February 1st–7th marks National Black Lives Matter (BLM) at Schools Week of Action. This event was first established in the 2017–2018 school year when thousands of teachers across the country joined the organized effort to teach about structural racism, black history, anti-racist movements, etc. for a week at the beginning of February (Black History Month). North Brooklyn’s M.S. 50 was a local ground breaker in this movement as they began observing BLM at Schools Week of Action three years ago. Last year brought more widespread observance in Community Education Council (CEC) District 14.
“We at District 14 believe that we all have a responsibility to work for equity. Through our collective participation, students will learn that their school community understands inequities based on race and affirms that the lives of people of color matter,” said a statement contained in the announcement of CEC District 14’s participation in BLM at Schools Week of Action. “This work will continue throughout Black History Month and extend throughout the school year.”
In addition to planned community events NYC BLM in Schools has set up a calendar of daily prompts to encourage individual participation. One of the scheduled Monday events was a rally that was to process from Marcus Garvey Park to the Harlem Meer. However the rally had to go virtual due to NYC getting hit with the biggest snowstorm in five years. The rally went live on Zoom and on Facebook and the recorded video can be viewed here.
Tajh Sutton, CEC District 14 President, stated that parents helped bring the BLM Week of Action to the district in order, “to support school communities and families in having the kinds of conversations that make district 14 feel like a safe place for ALL students and families, even if the rest of the world seems lost.” She continued, “It was this line of thinking, coupled with our work on the district equity team and what the data there showed us about overlooked populations that have been in the district all our lives, our work with the district leadership team and our school visits with our responsive and engaged principals, PTAs and parent coordinators, that led us to begin supporting parent led conversations regarding Black Lives Matter At NYC Schools Week of Action. Our conversations grew into a supported and sustainable movement fueled by our district families, community based organizations and schools who want to make sure that anti racism and equity become our bedrock through COVID-19 and beyond. Please join us Friday as we celebrate Black Joy.”
On Friday, 6 p.m. February 5th the CEC District 14 community will present a virtual art showcase and vision boarding session rooted in the 13 Guiding Principles of the BLM Movement. Email CEC14@schools.nyc.gov to received the zoom link for the event or for schools who want to participate in the event.