The tragic stories of Eric Garner, Michael Brown and Tamir Rice created an outpouring of outrage on blogs, in social media and during street protests.
For many of these protestors, however, the reality of racial inequity fails to resonate with their everyday lives. Many tweeters and digital criers have the privilege of putting aside the outrage over social injustice once they log off Twitter, shut down Facebook or finish that Huffington Post article—or until the next big news story hits the media.
Educators for Excellence is reminding us all that for students of color, their families, teachers and education advocates, there isn’t an “off” button on racial inequity.
In an ever-changing news cycle, the stories of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice fall to the background of a public debate about racial equity. But for teachers, parents and education advocates, the injustices children experience as a result of racial inequity is a reality that must be faced every day.
As former educators, we reflect on the lives of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice with the realization that they could have been our students. They could have been one of our sophomores learning to write poetry in a South Bronx classroom or our kindergartners learning to read in Saint Paul. Perhaps this is why their deaths leave us with the persistent and disturbing question: “Could this happen to my student?”
This week Educators for Excellence will be sharing the stories and letters of teachers who are speaking out on the everyday inequality and disproportionate discipline their students of color experience.
Thankfully, organizers across the country are calling for racial equity through the rising #BlackLivesMatter movement, even as media attention wanes. It is important to recognize that this is the heart of real change—organizers and advocates gathering in communities across the nation, doing their part to confront inequity.
School is not just about learning reading and mathematics, it is also an opportunity to learn about citizenship and social justice. We must talk to our students about the past and the toll of racial inequality on society and how, as a nation, we can create equality and change the course of the future by acknowledging the events of the past.
We need to support our teachers, students and communities to challenge the status quo and question social injustice—not just when it’s trending on Twitter.