Some Philadelphia teachers will dedicate more instructional time next week to teaching about diversity, community bonding and expansion, and social justice during the Black Lives Matter week of action campaign.
The campaign, sponsored by the Caucus of Working Educators Racial Justice Committee, will be held Jan. 23-28. Many schools and individual classrooms will conduct lessons and hold events that align with the 13 guiding principles of the Black Lives Matter movement. The campaign is using those principles as themes to guide the week’s events. Organizers, supporters, educators, and parents will wear Black Lives Matter T-shirts, buttons, and stickers.
“Many people, after Nov. 8, knew what it felt like to be Black in this country: worried and afraid,” said Tamara Anderson, a parent organizer for the Caucus of Working Educators.
“As both a parent and a college educator, I envision that this [Black Lives Matter] week will be about introspective discussion that will allow students and their families to look at this week and its movement beyond the hashtag, because Black lives should matter.”
Black Lives Matter Week is co-sponsored by the Teacher Action Group Philadelphia and is also endorsed by many education organizations, including Parents United for Public Education, Neighborhood Networks, Philadelphia Children’s March, Philly Socialists, Teachers Lead Philly, Youth United for Change, and United Caucuses of Rank and File Educators (UCORE).
Here’s a list of the week’s activities and themes:
Jan. 23: Restorative Justice, Empathy, and Loving Engagement
A city-wide event starting in the classrooms, where all schools and educators are encouraged to allocate at least an hour of their school day/lesson plan for educating and empowering students on the Black Lives Matter movement.
Jan. 24: Diversity and Globalism (#EthnicStudiesPHL)
This first official meeting will create a work plan for educators and encourage the exploration and expansion of ethnic studies in the Philadelphia area. It will be held at 5 p.m. at St. Stephen's Green, 1701 Green St.
Jan. 25: Transgender-Affirming, Queer-Affirming, and Collective Value
This event – titled “How to Bridge the Gap Between Parents/Families and Schools” – will be held as a town meeting at City Hall. Organizers say it will be a community conversation about the present disconnect and growing gap between parents and school staff.
Jan. 26: Intergenerational, Black Families, and Black Villages – screening of the movie 13th
The movie focuses on how the U.S. criminal justice system has unjustifiably and unequally imprisoned African Americans through the 13th Amendment, which made slavery and involuntary servitude illegal "except as a punishment for a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.” After the movie screening, there will be a talkback discussion regarding intergenerational communities and the disruption of the Western nuclear family. This event will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. at Edward T. Steel Elementary, 4301 Wayne Ave.
Jan. 27: Black Women and Unapologetically Black
A panel will discuss “Beauty, Society, & More” and the effects on Black girls and women. This event will start at 5 p.m. at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, 3700 Walnut St., Room 203.
Jan. 28: Conversation & Closing Panel Discussion
After screening clips from the movies Pariah and Moonlight, there will be a conversation about LGBTQ people's lives as they relate to the film and the Black Lives Matter movement. This event will be held from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. in the Ritter Annex at Temple University.
The closing panel will discuss “Next Steps: How Does the Work Continue Beyond Black Lives Matter Week?” from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at Temple, Tuttleman Learning Center, 1809 North 13th St.