Next week, February 3rd through 7th, marks the national Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action.
Brooklyn Friends School social justice advocates are taking the lead in bringing this effort to our community. In preparation for the Week, students in the Middle and Upper Schools learned about Black Lives Matter at School, its historical context, when and where it began and why it’s important, in collections facilitated by their peers.
At the Upper School Collection, students learned about Brooklyn Friends School’s own history of activism and the Black Lives Matter movement. In the Middle School, the 8th grade leaders also focused on our own community, and how BFS can be a more equitable, inclusive, and a safe space for all students.
The 8th graders taught a lesson on microaggressions, which are a common way that well-intentioned people can cause harm to people of color and people of other historically marginalized groups. They also shared anonymous stories of times that black students have experienced microaggressions or being “othered” by someone(s) in our community.
They ended the collection with instructing students that things like this can happen, even to people who are nice, kind, and inclusive, and gave students explicit steps for how to apologize and make amends when they may have caused harm – eighth graders want all students to know that BFS can be a more inclusive space just by paying attention to our everyday interactions. They want all students to feel like they belong here.
Here are two ways in which the BFS community can support the Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action and our student social justice advocates:
Rise to the Creative Challenge
The Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action originated in 2016 at John Muir Elementary in Seattle, Washington. Since then, the movement has grown to hundreds of schools across the U.S. and now includes a National Creative Challenge, where students submit artwork and compete for the design of the national t-shirt and banner for the Week of Action. The creative challenge at BFS is an opportunity for students to submit works surrounding Black Lives Matter at School. This could look like any number of things, but some examples are drawings, paintings, posters, poetry, pottery, creative writings, collages, etc. The Prompt: The national creative challenge prompt in 2019 was: “Schools show Black Lives Matter when…” The eighth graders developing the challenge value this prompt and encourage that students use it to guide them, and they also want to focus on how Brooklyn Friends School can be more inclusive. Eighth graders encourage students to focus on themes such as unity, strength in a community, equity, justice, and equality. Submissions: Work should be submitted to Laurice Hwang’s office, Middle School Dean of Student Life, Room 545. If students have a spoken word submission or other videos, please feel free to send them to Laurice at firstname.lastname@example.org. If students would like to participate in the National Creative Challenge, they can find more information at https://blacklivesmatteratschool.com.
Wear black in solidarity on Monday, February 3rd
Students are encouraging anyone who is a part of the BFS community to show their solidarity with BLM at School Week of Action by wearing a black t-shirt or sweatshirt or other Black Lives Matter attire to school on Monday, February 3rd.