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Being Black at School Is The Type Of Activism We Need Right Now

In recent years, the many highly publicized acts of violence against Black people of all ages have drawn attention to the disparate conditions facing this group on all fronts. Yet, a particularly treacherous place for Black people is in school. Luckily, one activist is doing her part to change that reality for Black students across the country.

 

I recently had the chance to connect with Kelly Wickham Hurst to learn about her new organization dedicated to making schools more equitable, safer, and fair for Black students, Being Black at School. Hurst, the Founder and Executive Director of BBAS, spent “23 years in the public education system as a teacher, literacy coach, guidance dean, and assistant principal” before leaving to start BBAS.

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Facing Race: Building for Racial Justice In Schools Post-Election

By Nuala Cabral

Last Thursday, over two thousand people from across the country came together in Atlanta for Facing Race, a national conference on racial justice. Organized by the NY-based nonprofit Race Forward, the conference embodies the organization’s mission to “build awareness, solutions, and leadership for racial justice.” The timing of this conference couldn’t have been more perfect; only one day earlier Donald Trump was announced president elect of the United States. The conference, thus, became a space where folks could grieve and process the implications of this destructive election and strategize around ways we can respond.

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We Need Revolution, Not Endorsements

It is true that the Movement for Black Lives is leaderless; it is also true that Deray McKesson has been dubbed the face of this same movement, and within his time as “The Face,” many people – including Black people – have come to critique his decisions. With his name most recently in the news for his endorsement of Hillary Clinton, we are given the gentle reminder that our community is not unified in its current demands and we cannot get caught up in the headlines that so often overshadow the work. 

photo courtesy of Bing.com

Chicago Teachers Reach An Agreement With Mayor Emanuel But Students Remain Underserved

This past Tuesday would have been the second time the Chicago Teachers Union went on strike since Mayor Rahm Emanuel took office in 2011 – if there were a strike.

For weeks there has been conversation and preparation for a strike in Chicago Public Schools, the largest school district in the state and third largest in the nation, however Mayor Emanuel managed to avoid the fallout at the last second and both sides reached an agreement. CPS teachers will get pay raises, pensions, and job security. Legally teachers are only allowed to strike over pay and benefits, so how do we meet the needs of students?

Photo from Twitter

Here’s What You Need To Know About Build Black Futures Advocacy Day

Earlier this year BYP100 released the Agenda to Build Black Futures, followed by A Vision For Black Lives policy platform that they signed on to this summer, both of which spread wide in the digital space. Last week BYP100 and the National Black Justice Coalition joined each other in Washington, D.C. to take both platforms from the digital space to the congressional space for the first Build Black Futures Advocacy Day. This was a huge step in the Movement, as members of congress on both sides of the aisle have struggled to understand the Movement and it’s asks of our government.

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642 Million Reasons Chicago Doesn’t Need More Police

Since 2004, Chicago has spent $642 million on police-related legal claims. Between 2012 and 2015, the City paid out a total of $210 million to settle police misconduct lawsuits, many on the receiving end of the settlements were Black and Brown folks. This is now the same city that will be hiring more police officers, putting more Black and Brown Chicagoans at risk. There is no nice way to say this, but Chicago is wasting its time – and money – hiring more police officers.

Image via Bart Everson

Here’s What’s Missing From Reporting On Chicago’s ‘Bloody August’

Four-hundred people were shot in Chicago within the span of 31 days. Ninety of them died. Multiple outlets, including The Washington Post and CNN, are calling August the deadliest month the city has experienced in two decades.

Some news reports implicated widespread gang violence within the city for the drastic uptick in crime, while others focused on the influx of firearms from neighboring states with looser gun laws. A new documentary from BBC, titled “Lost Streets Chicago,” hones in on the impact of the seemingly inescapable violence concentrated in minority neighborhoods, with residents describing them as tantamount to “third-world countries.”

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May We Always Cherish the Freedom Fighters of Pretoria High School for Girls

When I first read the code of conduct administered at Pretoria High School for Girls in South Africa, I was mortified. As a mother, with a daughter whose hair at 3 years old would be classified by some as “nappy”, all I could think was “How would I do her hair if this came home from her school?” The answer quickly revealed itself: I wouldn’t. I couldn’t.

Photo from Brownboyhood.com

New ‘Melanites’ Doll Line Offers Different Images Of Black Boyhood

As we’ve seen through the influx of data and media coverage on Black boys, they often lose their innocence at the hands of someone else, someone who has stereotyped and criminalized their Blackness continuing the mindset that because they are Black, they don’t deserve innocence. And, while this won’t be changed overnight, Jennifer Pierre is taking the issue of Black boyhood into her own hands and is releasing a new line of dolls for boys of color called “Melanites.”