So, today is hard. And we here at CREAD wanted to extend a hand of love and support. So maybe something below can serve as inspiration for you and your students today.
Quotes and Proverbs:
Want to start your class with analyzing a quote and connecting it to today and Amerikkka’s aftermath?
“If you want to go fast, Go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
The paradox of education is precisely this – that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated—James Baldwin
I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain. —James Baldwin
“I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood.”—Audre Lorde
“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.” —Maya Angelou
Call to council:
Let’s circle up and talk. When major things happen in our life we need to form tight bonds of community and love. May the circle never be broken!
- Music heals the soul, so maybe you ask students to choose a song that represents how they feel this morning and allow each to open the circle with a snippet of the song.
For me on a day like this, I’m closing the circle with Bob Marley’s War as my contribution to the circle: “Until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned–everywhere is war–me say war.”
- One Word: As their do now, have students write down one word on an index card that represents how they feel and create a class poem using all the words.
Khalilah’s word is: Sankofa
Cathleen’s word is: Recalibrate
- Free write: Choose a prompt, or not but give students a specific amount of time to write about their thoughts, ideas or reactions.
What does this outcome mean for Black Lives to Matter?
Do politics matter? Explain.
Complete this phrase: “If I ruled the world… “(You could play Nas in the background as mood music)
In all of these things, you should also engage in the activity. Be a part of the circle but try not to control it. You don’t have to have all the answers. You just need to create space for students to investigate their feelings. Remind students that it is okay to experience difficult feelings and that it may take some time to work through them. You also shouldn’t force it. Feel out your room and if students don’t feel like talking, then they don’t have to beyond your morning check in. If they feel like talking then let it flow. Ensure them that you are there to listen and support them.
Music is the soundtrack of our lives. Sometimes we just need to sit and listen, sit and write, sit and compose as Jay Z said, sometimes you gotta make the song cry.
We need some Bob Marley so check out this reggae therapy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJWsS8VuFNA&spfreload=5
And specifically:War by Bob Marley https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XHEPoMNP0I. Which quotes from a speech from the honorable EMPEROR HAILE SELASSIE I TO THE UNITED NATIONS http://www.ethiopiancrown.org/address.html
But maybe you’re in a more hood mood: WARNING: This is OG ish, so don’t do this unless you’re on OG!
Rick Ross album “Teflon Don”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VY1DE0mpDlU&list=PL-k0oy4gJl9wPZA5AicHAFxaE5kxboE-S
Specifically: “Tears of Joy”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DmppWk88Ok
Maybe you’re feeling for some soca:
Mr. Vegas “I am blessed”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCT7YvnPwwM
Maybe you’re in a more solemn contemplating mood:
Solange’s entire album but specifically Mad and FUBU:
And you always want to remind yourself and your students that there is hope…
Sounds of Blackness: “I Believe” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEY7vxjuuBA&spfreload=5
Nas: “I Know I Can”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xAp3VY_OEs
Nas: “If I Ruled the World”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NW55FRXlPEs
How can we use the literature to help us access our feelings and our possibilities?
Claude Mckay: If we must die https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/44694
Langston Hughes: I too, am America: https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/i-too
Gwendolyn Brooks: Speech to the Young: Speech to the Progress-Toward https://www.poetrysociety.org/psa/poetry/poetry_in_motion/atlas/chicago/spe_to_the_you_spe_to_the_pro_amo_the_nor_and_hen_iii/
Tupac Shakur: When Ure Hero Falls: https://allpoetry.com/When-Ure-Hero-Falls
Tupac Shakur: And 2morrow: https://allpoetry.com/And-2Morrow
Tupac Shakur: Liberty Needs Glasses: https://allpoetry.com/Liberty-Needs-Glasses
How is the media handling this turn of events? At times like this, do we need larger “Black Media” presence? Where do we go to hear what we need, to stay informed, to soothe our souls?
What? Now what? So, what? What are our possible next steps?
The Black Lives Matter Platform: https://policy.m4bl.org/platform/
Role of Black educators serving their communities:
I would have students take time to research quotes and speeches of some of our black leaders for liberation: Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, Sojourner Truth, Shirley Chisholm. And I would throw in a few of our modern liberators, Deray McKesson, Van Jones, Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, Patrisse Cullors, Michelle Alexander, Jesse Williams, and Shaun King.
And ask them to make snapshot bios: Choose a picture, choose a quote, write a tweet or update their (Fb/IG/Snapchat) what would they, should they, could they say in times like this?
In the end, we have to make space for our students’ feelings and our own, validate their concerns as well as our own. We must highlight the hypocrisy of America and our own hypocrisy as educators and allow ourselves to experience the emotions. We must make space for those who are numb, those who are angry, those who will say I don’t care, those who are heartbroken, those who will say this means nothing and those who will say this means everything. And when it is all out in the open, raw, and festering, we will provide them (and ourselves) inspiration, provide hope, provide a path to liberation, freedom, and revolution. But all of this cannot to be accomplished in one class period, or even in one day; in fact there is no set time to begin and end this work. It is ongoing and it will grow and change with us because the commitment to our children is not an election cycle. It is not a political phase or term in office. It is our life’s work. Today, let’s allow everyone to feel, and tomorrow we move towards freedom.
As Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
CREAD Tribe, you do not have to go in today being strong and projecting confidence. Your only job is to be authentic and allow for love and connection to prevail. Today is all about the feels.