by Ari Robin McKenna
This is the second in a series of articles featuring the words of local ethnic studies educators who are doing work to address systemic racism in our classrooms. To read the first, click here. To read the series intro, click here.
When Bruce Jackson was a child, his household was swept up into a greater story that still reverberates across the world today. His uncle, Zayd, was killed defending writer and civil rights activist Assata Shakur during a confrontation with police on the New Jersey Turnpike. A documentary about Shakur’s life ends with the following words regarding her chosen surname:
“It is a name that I took to carry on the name of Zayd Malik Shakur in honor of his family, and in honor of the forces of beauty and good on this earth which I’m grateful for. That is my name.”
Continue reading Ethnic Studies Educator Bruce Jackson and the Beautiful American Story Never Told
by Racial Equity Education
A cultural revolution is happening in Seattle and around the country as we experience a collective awakening of individuals and institutions to the damages caused by centuries of White supremacy and systemic racism. It is becoming more apparent that K–12 schools continue to contribute to racial injustice, even in some of the most progressive districts.
Seattle Public Schools, despite passing a resolution in 2017, has yet to mandate, implement, and fully fund ethnic studies curriculum districtwide. While the Seattle district office claims to be committed to centering youth voices and serving students furthest from educational justice, they continue to merely pay lip service to the demands that have been clearly voiced by Garfield students for years. Yet the district’s recent decision to remove Tracy Castro-Gill as Head of Ethnic Studies for Seattle Public Schools has set back years of work by discrediting their own Ethnic Studies program and the many dedicated educators who have built it.
Continue reading OPINION: Racial Equity Education Launches National Crowd-Sourced Public Education Campaign
by Liz Covey, LMHC
“Miserable is exactly how the White people who want to help should be feeling right now, and then they should sit with that misery until something breaks in their brain, the narrative changes in their psyche, and the legacy of emotional paralysis lifts entirely.”
—Rebecca Carroll, The Atlantic (June 2020)
I’ve had this saying about my work for years now, and it goes like this: I will spend the rest of my career indebted to the (mostly Black) kids and foster families with whom I worked early on, and who had to put up with my sorry self, before I knew the damage I was causing as a White practitioner in Black spaces. I dedicate any good work I do today to these kids. In the spirit of Black Lives Matter, I Say Their Names, to myself, in my heart, on the regular.
Continue reading Calling Out White Supremacy in Seattle’s Mental Health Establishment: One Therapist’s Confession
by Melia LaCour
This is a call to White people. No, this is not a list of ten things you can do to end racism. Nor is this a multi-step roadmap to guide you from racist to ally. And no, this is not a solvent to relieve white guilt. This is in fact a call, erupting from the soil, soaked with the blood of my Black ancestors who have suffered multi-generational trauma from the intentional destruction and lynching of beautiful Black people. The call is to fully step into your role in the fight for justice.
This call has resounded for generations. Why won’t you hear us?
Continue reading A Call to White People: It’s Time to Live in the Answer