February is Black History Month! Although fighting for racial justice and teaching lessons about equity, diversity and fair treatment happen year round, this month is an opportunity to both celebrate Black history and confront challenges that still exist today. As National Education Association President Lily Eskelson Garcia shared:
“Here’s a hard truth: As a product of our society, our nation’s education system has a sordid history of racism, one that still permeates today. Here’s another hard truth: If we do not actively, consciously create spaces, policies, and practices that combat racism, we will re-enforce racism in our schools, and, in turn, our society.”
Educators across the country are participating in the national Black Lives Matter At Schools Week of Action. You can learn more about local ways to participate and find other resources for Black History Month on our website at btu.org/blackhistory.
Calling all BTU activists: this Saturday is our BTU Winter Conference! The theme this year is “#StudentsDeserve: Building on a National Movement to Fund our Future.” It is not too late to register! The keynote speaker is Turquoise LeJuene Parker, VP of the Durham Association of Educators. Please see the full list of of workshops and register today at btu.org/winter-conference!
Lastly, thank you to everyone who made calls to legislators last week to support the Promise and Cherish Acts to fund K-12 and higher education. At the close of the deadline to co-sponsor legislation in the House last week, only four members of the 25-person Boston delegation had not signed on to the Promise Act, with would bring much needed funding to Boston Public Schools: Senator Bronwsberger and Representatives Tyler, Moran and Michelwitz. We hope that they will support the bill as it moves forward this session — it’s not too late. The more than 50 testimonies at School Committee last week on the impact of budget cuts were a clear reminder that the current funding system is broken and must be fixed.
This month we will continue to advocate not just to #FundOurFuture and negotiate a strong contract to create the schools our #Students Deserve, but we will also take action for racial justice in our classrooms and beyond.
Have a great week!