On Monday, Jan. 24, the NAACP Youth Council (NYC) released their plans for the Fifth Annual Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action, Jan. 31–Feb. 4. The event was attended by community members and local media and featured educators and students speaking about the week’s heightened importance in 2022, the continued relevance of the national movement’s demands, and a day-by-day schedule of the week’s activities.
On Monday, a virtual ceremony was held to honor the 2021 Black Education Matters Student Activist Awards (BEMSAA). In addition to parents, mentors, friends, and teachers of the award winners, the event was attended by former NFL player Michael Bennet (who awarded Mia Dabney the Pennie Bennett Award), Seattle Seahawks player Bobby Wagner, former BEMSAA award winners, BEMSAA board members, and members of the media.
Four years after she was killed by police, her family still seeks answers.
by Katrina Johnson, Jesse Hagopian, and Michael Bennett
The broadest protests in U.S. history occurred last spring and summer in the wake of the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others. While this uprising around the country — in all 50 states, in rural and urban areas — was certainly about those widely publicized horrific murders at the hands of police, masses of people rose up around the country in large part because they had seen similar police violence in their own communities — including here in Seattle.
Four years ago, Charleena Lyles, a 30-year-old Black pregnant mother of four, was fatally shot by two white Seattle police officers.
Black Lives Matter at School, a book about a national movement for educational justice that was born in Seattle’s South End.
by Ari Robin McKenna
While reading the 31 chapters of Black Lives Matter at School, you may sense that history, instead of trailing behind you, just out of reach, has caught up; we are living in it. If you are involved with public education in the city of Seattle, where this story begins in a South End elementary school, it is especially difficult to read this book and not think the only choice you really have is what role you will play.
Trigger Warning: this article includes descriptions of incidents in which racist language is used.
In a student-lead briefing on Monday, Jan. 25 on Zoom, educators, parents, youth in the NAACP Youth Coalition, and members of the press convened to kick off the Black Lives Matter (BLM) at School Week of Action in Seattle. Now a national movement four years running, it all began here in the South End in 2016 when John Muir Elementary School (JMES) had to temporarily cancel plans for an assembly meant to bolster the morale of Black students. After word spread via Breitbart News Network that teachers at the district-sponsored event would be wearing Black Lives Matter t-shirts, organizers received hate mail and a bomb threat, causing them to temporarily cancel the assembly. Then, in an impressive display of Seattle solidarity with JMES, over 3,000 educators district-wide showed up to work donning “Black Lives Matter” shirts, and a movement was born.
Week-long event kicks off Feb. 4 to coincide with Black History Month
by Carolyn Bick
Just a few years ago, Black Lives Matter at School was a Seattle-area-only day of action. Now, it has become a national, week-long movement, with almost 30 cities and hundreds of schools participating.
Michael Bennett and Macklemore gifting a copy of Teaching for Black Lives to Seattle language arts and social studies teachers
by Carolyn Bick
Former Seahawk Michael Bennett and rapper Macklemore felt strongly enough about the importance of education for Black students that they’re sending copies of Teaching For Black Livesto every every language arts and social studies teacher in middle and high schools in Seattle Public Schools. On Monday, co-editor Jesse Hagopian and his fellow co-editors will hold a discussion on the book and improving education for Black students. Less than a week prior, Hagopian announced the gift that Bennett and Macklemore are making to educators the community.
Despite reaching a tentative agreement with the district Friday night, educators could still vote to strike. Teachers will meet to discuss the agreement Friday evening, Sept. 7, and vote on the agreement the next day.
Supporters of Seahawks Defensive End Michael Bennett rallied in front of Union Station before Sunday’s game against the 49ers, expressing solidarity with the athlete as he continues protesting against systemic racism and police brutality by sitting out the national anthem. Continue reading Supporters Stand for Sitting Bennett→