Tackling racism in our union
We were all born into a racist society. Though it is not our fault, racism is all of our problem and dismantling it is all of our responsibility – both those who are victimized by systemic racism and especially those who have benefited from the purposeful exclusion and marginalization of people of color.
We have seen how collective activism has worked to shift political agendas to advance the interests of working people. We have the capacity to break down the barriers that exclude, isolate and dehumanize – but it will take continuous effort, commitment, and struggle. Luckily, we are the labor movement and fighting back is what we do. We encourage you to join us in the movement for racial justice as we carve out a new path forward and fight for the future we all deserve.
black lives matter at school
Black Lives Matter at School is a national coalition organizing for racial justice in education. We encourage all educators, students, parents, unions, and community organizations to join our annual week of action during the first week of February each year.
TAKE THE PLEDGE
Pledge to support Black Lives Matter at School demands:
• End “zero tolerance” discipline, and implement
• Hire more black teachers
• Mandate Black history and ethnic studies in K-12
• Fund counselors not cops
Download and share the following graphics:
YEAR OF PURPOSE
In the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and others named and unnamed, a great uprising for Black Lives has swept the nation and the world, inciting new urgency and radical possibilities for advancing abolitionist practice and uprooting institutional racism.
In addition to the week of action we encourage educators to participate in the following days of action throughout the year.
FIRST DAY: Black to School (Whatever date that is for you)
Wear the BLM shirt
Review the BLM at School reflection questions and write up your anti-racist action plan for the year
Graffiti wall: "What are we going to do differently this year to further the movement for Black lives in our school."
Post a video to social media
October 14th: Justice for George Day
Principle: Restorative Justice
October 14: George Floyd’s Birthday. Justice for George is a day to remember him and call for the defunding of the police and the redirecting of those funds towards social programs and education.
November 20: Transgender Day of Remembrance
• Principle: Trans Affirming
November 20: Transgender Day of Remembrance 2020. William Dorsey Swann, an ex-slave, the first person in the U.S. to lead a queer resistance group and the first known person to self-identify as a “queen of drag”.
December 3: International People’s with Disabilities Day
Principle: Globalism and Collective Value
December 3: International People’s with Disabilities Day. Harriet Tubman and Fannie Lou Hamer are two disabled freedom fighters we revere, even as the disabilities they carried with them into struggle aren’t consistently lifted up as assets in their fight. To fight against societal ableism, we must celebrate our differences and understand how the lessons from Black disabled organizers teach us how to build inclusive, accessible movements.
Queer Organizing Behind the Scenes
Principle: Queer Affirming
January: During January, we find it critical to lift up Bayard Rustin, one of the principal organizers behind the March on Washington which is crowned as one of MLK’s lasting achievements. To be queer-affirming means lifting up our queer ancestors who were at the foundation of our movements throughout time. This deepens the purpose of MLK day to understand that no one person makes a movement, highlighting how MLK’s legacy encompasses the contributions of many.
Unapologetically Black Day
• Principle: Unapologetically Black
February 18: Audre Lorde/Toni Morrison Birthday.These authors share the same birthday, February 18, and have used their words to reflect hopes, fears and joys of those often left in the margins of American literature.
Student Activist Day
Principles: Loving Engagement and Empathy
March 6: Barbara Johns Black Student Activist Day - Day to celebrate Black student activists. Back in 1951, 16-year-old Barbara organized and led a walk-out of an entire student body to protest the substandard conditions of their high school.
Revolutionary Black Arts
April: During National Library Week (April 4-10), we seek to center the classic contributions of Black writers and artists across the generations: Zora Neale Huston, Faith Ringgold, Alma Thomas, Augusta Savage, Jasmine Mans. How are the themes and radical vision that they brought to their art reflected in your classrooms and communities? How can young people extend on these legacies?
Black Radical Educator Day
• Principle: Black Villages
May 3: On Septima Clark’s birthday we celebrate Black Radical Educator Day. Septima Clark. An American education who became a civil right activist after experiencing racial inequity of teachers’ salaries and facilities.
Principle: Black Women
June 5: Breonna Taylor's Birthday - Day to call for justice for Breonna and uplift the #SayHerName movement
Education for Liberation Day
Principles: Black Families and Diversity
Juneteenth: Education for Liberation Day - A day to celebrate the struggle that brought down slavery and reflects on what must be done to win Black liberation
Download and share: IFT Juneteenth graphic
A Day for Self Reflection
Review all 13 Principles
Last day of School, Reflection Day: Reflect on your year of antiracist teaching.
We have curated a variety of classroom resources for every age group. These resources are all free of charge and meant to be shared and used. The goal of these lessons and activities is to challenge racism and oppression and providing students with the vocabulary and tools needed to take action.
Are you participating in Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action and/or Year of Purpose? We want to hear from you. Post what you’re doing on social media with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatterAtSchool and tag @BLMAtSchool and @iftaft. Or, send photos and stories to email@example.com to share with us!
Through both activisim and elections, we can change the narrative, enact new policies, and create a better, more equitable, inclusive life for all.
The following resolutions were passed at the IFT 2019 convention:
• RESOLUTION 3 - Trauma, Restorative Justice Safety and Justice in the Classroom
• RESOLUTION 15 - Immigration and Border Issues: Caring for Students
• RESOLUTION 16 - Leading From Within: Committing to Equity and Inclusivity
• RESOLUTION 24 - Form Committee on LGBTQ+ Contributions in Curricula
• RESOLUTION 25 - Black Lives Matter at School
• RESOLUTION 29 - Expand Transgender Affirming Healthcare Coverage