#BlackLivesMatterAtSchool FAQ: Answering why hundreds of Seattle educators are wearing “Black Lives Matter” shirts to school
#BlackLivesMatterAtSchool press conference. Teachers pictured (from left to right) Rogelio Rigor, Donte Felder, Sarah Arvey, and Jesse Hagopian. (Photo by Benice Buhain)
On October 19th, 2016 hundreds of Seattle teachers, counselors, paraprofessionals, nurses, instructional assistants, librarians, and other educators will be wearing Black Lives Matter shirts to school in an unprecedented action, “Black Lives Matter At School.” Already, some 2,000 shirts have been ordered and many of these educators will also be teaching lessons that day about institutional racism. Educators at Washington Middle School and other educators from the Social Equality Educators have compiled this list of answers to frequently asked questions about this unprecedented action.
October 19th—#BlackLivesMatterAtSchool FAQ
Q: How did the October 19th Black Lives Matter At School event get organized?
A: In mid-September, two Seattle elementary schools decided to have African-American men from their communities welcome students to school with greetings and high-fives. Teachers planned to wear Black Lives Matter t-shirts. One school, John Muir, received a bomb threat from someone opposing the event. Although consideration was given to canceling due to safety concerns, the event was held anyway without any problems. In an act of solidarity, a few days later the Seattle Education Association (SEA) Representative Assembly passed a resolution unanimously supporting the schools and their actions, and encouraging all schools to participate in a day of solidarity on Wednesday, October 19:
Whereas the SEA promotes equity and supports anti-racist work in our schools; and, Whereas we want to act in solidarity with our members and the community at John Muir who received threats based on their decision to wear Black Lives Matter t- shirts as part of an event with “Black Men United to Change the Narrative”; and,Whereas the SEA and SPS promote Race and Equity teams to address institutionalized racism in our schools and offer a space for dialogue among school staff; and,Therefore be it resolved that the SEA Representative Assembly endorse and participate in an action wearing Black Lives Matter t-shirts on Wednesday, October 19,2016 with the intent of showing solidarity, promoting anti-racist practices in our schools, and creating dialogue in our schools and communities.
On October 8, the Seattle Public Schools noted the event on its website, and stated:
During our #CloseTheGaps kick-off week, Seattle Education Association is promoting October#BlackLivesMatterAtSchool FAQ: Answering why hundreds of Seattle educators are wearing “Black Lives Matter” shirts to school | I AM AN EDUCATOR: