ECE and the #BlackLivesMatter Week of Action in Schools

Last month I wrote about addressing anti-blackness in early childhood classrooms with the goal of affirming black as beautiful in the minds of young children.  In addition to helping young children develop a positive attitude towards blackness, early childhood teachers across the country are invited to participate in the national #BlackLivesMatter Week of Action in Our Schools February 5-9! Last year, teachers in Philadelphia and Seattle took the initiative to support #BlackLivesMatter in schools. This year, the movement has gone national with support from teachers in New York City, New Jersey, Baltimore, Howard County, MD, Washington, D.C., Boston, Portland, and Seattle organizing a week of action that includes a curriculum for teaching the 13 Guiding Principles of #BlackLivesMatter in schools.
Some of you might be wondering why a week of action around #BlackLivesMatter needs to be in our schools. Well, first we must counter the myth that #BlackLivesMatter is a terrorist organization that hates white people and cops. The #BlackLivesMatter movement was created to affirm and support black people, constantly reminded that our lives do not matter when police kill so many unarmed black people. In addition to calling for an end to police violence against black bodies, the #BlackLivesMatter movement seeks to foster appreciation, support, and affirmation of black culture and black lives.  When you read the 13 Guiding Principlesit becomes clear, that #BlackLivesMatter is a movement rooted in love, not hate.
Now some of you might agree that we need #BlackLivesMatter, but you might question why it belongs in our schools. Unfortunately, the state of public education today reminds us that black lives do not matter in schools either. From the growth of the school-to-prison pipeline to the persistence of the academic opportunity gap, it is clear that public education does not value black lives. Please do not misconstrue my words, many public-school teachers value black lives, but the system as a whole was never designed for black children and will continue to underserve them, unless we demand a change.​So, you agree that we need to support #BlackLivesMatter and you agree we need to teach the movement in schools, but you might still be wondering what place this has in an early childhood setting.  If you think young children do not notice race and are not mature enough to discuss issues, please reconsider. As the infographic below from The Children’s Community School shows, young children notice and think about race. And too often they learn the wrong message from our silence.  If we are to succeed in valuing black lives in schools and communities, we need all early childhood teachers to join us in the #BlackLivesMatter Week of Actions in Our Schools. For more information click on the links below. You can also join us on Tuesday February 6th from 8:00-9:00 pm EST for a Twitter chat on ECE and #BlackLivesMatter Week of Action in Our Schools. Follow along at @DEY_project or @denisha_jones and use the hashtags #DEYChat and #ECEBLM to participate.ECE and the #BlackLivesMatter Week of Action in SchoolsFor more information click on the links below!
National #BLM Week of Action in Our Schools Facebook Page
Order a #BLM Week of Action in Our Schools T-Shirt
Resources for the #BLM Week of Action Early Childhood Curriculum