Am I Radical Enough? Thoughts on Being a Black Education Activist Surrounded by White Liberals
This blog was originally published by Denisha Jones at Changing the Narrative on 8/18/16.
To my non activist friends this sounds like a silly question. I am pretty sure, when they think of radical activist they think of me. At first it was because I used Facebook to proliferate my radical views but since returning to Washington, DC in 2011 I have attended and organized numerous marches and conferences taking my social media activism to the streets. However, lately as I get deeper and deeper into the world of education activism I am often left wondering if I am radical enough to be a part of this movement. Or perhaps their definition of radical varies greatly from my definition of radical and that is why I feel like I am not fully welcome in this movement. And by their version of radical I mean white liberals, because frankly they dominate the education activist movement that I am a part of. This is not surprising, given that white liberals often have the privilege including time and money to fully engage in the activist movement. When they use that privilege for the common good, then we get one step closer to winning the war. However, when they use that privilege to dictate to others how they must think, act, and behave in this movement, then they become the oppressor no matter how good their intentions may be.
In July 2016 the Save Our Schools Coalition for Action organized the People’s March for Education and Social Justice and Activist Conference in Washington DC. The Save Our Schools Coalition was originally made up of the following 8 organizations: Save Our Schools (SOS), The Badass Teachers Association (BATs), United Opt Out (UOO), Network for Public Education (NPE), the National Council of Urban Education Association (NCUEA), the BAT NEA Caucus, the Center for the Expansion of Learning and Thinking (CELT), and the Florida Opt Out Network. Members from these organizations, spent 10 months working to plan and organize the march, rally, and conference. We had hopes of substantially growing the number of attendees from the 2011 SOS march and rally but realized that it would cost serious money and none of the coalition organizations could afford to pay for this event. So, as was done in Badass Teachers Association: Am I Radical Enough? Thoughts on Being a Black Education Activist Surrounded by White Liberals: