Feeling inspired by dope Black women doing their thing got me thinking about the work that we do in the classroom as educators. How do we motivate Black kids to create dangerously, to speak their truths, make their art, and to share their passions with the world?
As educators, I believe we should empower Black youth and youth of color to take their rightful places in fields related to farming and agriculture. I’ve heard of students going on trips to farms and having great experiences farming because they get to be outdoors, to move around, and feel validated in bringing the knowledge they have about farming to existing environmental spaces. After learning about the ties between racism and food justice, (see this dope article by Soul Fire Co-Director Leah Penniman) Black people have an unmistakable stake in this work and it is crucial to empower our youth to be revolutionary change makers on this front.
The teacher above had her students complete a unit in which they discussed Black culture through exploring the creation of the diaspora, themes of immigration and migration, and the carrying of customs from different parts of the world. Students had to ask their families a set of questions about their personal histories, look up traditional dress in the classroom, and then share their findings with students. And these kids were 4!!!
The sad truth is that a number of forces – racism, colorism, language differences, limited depictions of history – keep Black and Latinx communities separate, even in a place like NYC where we live side by side.
In our session, we read part of the Kalief Browder story and discussed how so much of our practice as educators and as freedom fighters is about transforming pain to power. If you don’t know about the Kalief Browder story, check out the documentary on Netflix produced by our fave, Jay Z. In summary, Kalief was a young Black male who spent over 1,000 days on Rikers Island, 800 of those days in solitary confinement for a charge he maintained he did not commit.
This article, Are White Female Teachers to Blame for Pushing Black Children Through the School-to-Prison Pipeline brings ups so many good points
November is Native American Heritage Month and though I pride myself on being knowledgeable about the histories of people of the African Diaspora, I had to be real with myself, there is still so much I don’t know about the histories of my Native American brothers and sisters. Thinking of the importance of this solidarity led me to explore the topic of Black/Native American resistance.