Many thanks to the hundreds of people nationwide who registered to attend the Students Unite! We Continue the Fight event on July 7, 2020. As we respond to the critical need for us to collectively act on behalf of humanity, equity and belonging, we are thankful for the many ways in which iRunWithMaud Committee founders Josiah “Jazz” Watts and Demetris Frazier, as well as attorney/writer Jim Barger, and actor/author/activist IronE Singleton generously shared their strength, wisdom, courage, conviction, inspiration, spirit, humility and grace with students and school communities across the country.
Many powerful messages on Tuesday evening have stayed with us. Here are several highlights from the discussion:
Demetris Frazier: “The core values of the iRunWithMaud Committee are focus, solidarity, activism, endurance, and most of all, justice… this is a marathon and not a sprint…It’s a marathon that we have to continue to run to the fullest…and these are the values we live by in seeking justice for Ahmaud and for everyone.”
Jazz Watts: “We have to actually do the work of dismantling racism. We must know how to mobilize, organize, and work together to dismantle each of these existing systems.”
Jim Barger: “We have to get rid of the bad actors in these systems… We need more people who believe in justice for all. We need to raise up young people who have an experience that gives them empathy. Raise up those people to be the next generation of police officers, and district attorneys, and lawyers, and defense attorneys. I think that is where we get our lasting change.”
IronE Singleton: “We must educate and integrate. There is a lack of empathy that is due to conditioning as a result of media. If we don’t stop conditioning, if we all do not recognize our responsibility and acknowledge what we put into the world, those things will come back. We all play a part in what we put out there.”
The charge from BFS student leaders Alani, Bebe, Cyrah, Evelyn, Kayla, and Loane is for educators to consider the ways in which adults can partner with and further support youth, being mindful of adultism. Educators are called to center youth voices without letting go of the responsibility to do one’s own work, raise one’s own consciousness, and work on the dismantling of systems influencing our lives. As Jazz stated, “Young people are the spark! Young people are the catalysts. Young people are inspiring.”
BFS Head of School Crissy Cáceres reflected, “Tonight, as I have been many times over, I am buoyed by what is possible when we ACT together with CONVICTION and with a belief in our ability to dismantle painful systems that have hurt and ended lives. We are showing what is possible. We are acting. We have much complex work ahead of us, and… it is worthy work. It is human work. It is love work. It is change work. It is critical work. It is life-saving work. Our time is here and now. Our value is in working together. Our work is about activism via, as was said multiple times, ‘TRUTH AND LOVE.’”
For those who were unable to attend, the recording can be found here and related links with action opportunities and resources from our partners are included below.
Event Links and Recordings:
I RUN WITH MAUD Action Steps:
Action opportunities are posted on the I RUN WITH MAUD Facebook page.
Follow Josiah ‘Jazz’ Watts:
Follow IronE Singleton:
Finally, we are continuing to add to the Resources Regarding Race, Racism, and Racialized Violence compiled by Brooklyn Friends School Director of Service Learning & Civic Engagement, Natania Kremer, which has circulated within our school community and beyond.
We look forward to staying connected with all of you in our ongoing efforts to seek justice!
The BFS iRunWithMaud Team