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.
I’ve heard so many people say that 2017 was trash and don’t get it fucked up, between the inauguration of this Psycho (which I refused to watch), the hurricanes and sexual harassment allegations being handed out like Halloween candy, it could be difficult to find the positive. However, I have a poster in my bedroom that says, Happiness is an inside job. In order for me to be happy, I realized that I have to be unapologetically Black and this post is dedicated to that CREAD principle.
And in order for you (and us) to meet the state and administrative demands of working in a school we must be very clear about our values: The Nguzo Saba.
I am blessed to work in a school where the curriculum is set & #blacklivesmatters paper the walls, however; I can’t teach those units. The units suck.
We’re planning a conference at the end of the school year, we’re developing Harlem Renaissance inspired Content Salons for educators and we’re cooking up events to celebrate the lives of Martin, Malcolm, and Marcus along with Angela, Ida and Maya.
Let me just say that I am here for all of this: Black boys as kings, Black men showing love to Black boys (hell, just having Black men in education because unfortunately, it’s more likely to find Black unicorns than Black male teachers.) So everything in my mind is saying this is dope. This is for us by us.
But here’s one of my issues…
The irony is that despite that experience with my students, I still questioned the validity and relevance of my own story. Maybe popular culture convinced me that only the most outrageous and extreme experiences are worthy of writing about.