Last week was my favorite week of the semester: our Radical Learning for Change Trip (Rad Trip). I love to visit the Bay where I grew up and am thankful for the opportunity to introduce the students to incredible organizers, artists, educators and change makers. My internal fire was fueled with inspiration, and I grew closer to our students. The Rad Trip built upon the teachings of our Global Thinking and Peace Studies classes.
In Peace Studies, students have been challenged to look deeply at themselves and explore their multiple and fluid identities. This includes exploring how their roots, cultural backgrounds, and lived experiences inform their worldviews and values. Their self-reflection has focused on how power, privilege, and oppression manifest in their everyday lives and life spaces. A goal of the class is to cultivate critical consciousness in which students actively take part in anti-oppression work and see themselves as agents of transformation.
We learn about systems of oppression with a critical, intersectional lens, and understand the story of the US to be rooted in white supremacy, heteropatriarchy, militarism and capitalism. We study grassroots resistance movements led by directly affected peoples. We seek out voices that speak truth to power and stories omitted from mainstream educational narratives. We celebrate the resilience, courage, and power of ordinary people whose deep love of self and community outweigh their fatigue and fear of violence and injustice.
Throughout the semester students have been studying and discussing racism/white supremacy, the school-to-prison pipeline, the prison-industrial-complex, the New Jim Crow criminal justice system, the Black Panther Party survival programs, and the Civil Rights and #BlackLivesMatter movements. From Oakland to Boston our students from around the country shared stories and photos from participating in #BlackLivesMatter protests in their home communities. Last week in Oakland we watched Fruitvale Station and participated in May Day rallies and marches protesting racist police brutality in solidarity with Baltimore. The following are examples of class activities and resources in the hope that you will continue to talk about how Black Lives Matter and push for systemic change.
One day in class students worked individually and in collaboration to create activist art inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. They designed screen prints, postcards, t-shirts, memorial posters, graphic art collages, and a performance piece.
We watched the following:
- Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequality by Shakti Butler
- Mighty Times: The Children’s March from Teaching Tolerance, project of the Southern Poverty Law Center
- Black Power Mixtape by Göran Olsson
- Fruitvale Station by Ryan Coogler
Each day in class we start with someone sharing a song that relates to peace and justice. These are some of the songs we discussed for this unit:
- Street Literature by Kai Jewel$, Peeps, Young D, DonBlak, Black Geisha, and Simply Nicole, artists from the RYSE Youth Center in Richmond, CA
- Black Rage by Lauryn Hill
- The Blacker The Berry by Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp A Butterfly
- #BlackLivesMatter Protest Music - 22 Track Mix Tape For The Movement
Theses are some examples of readings from homework and class:
- A Herstory of the #BlackLivesMatter Movement by Alicia Garza
- The Price of Blackness by Lanre Akinsiku
- Michael Brown and the Danger of the Perfect Victim Frame by Jamilah King
- What is White Supremacy? by Elizabeth Betita Martinez
- Police Brutality and Racial Violence By Black Radical Congress
- What We Want by Kwame Touré (Stokely Carmichael)
- The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
- On Ferguson Protests, the Destruction of Things, and What Violence Really Is (And Isn’t) by Mia McKenzie
- America to Eric Garner by Aurora MJ
- #BlackLivesMatter: A Longform Reading List
- Hyper-criminalization of Black and Latino Youth by Victor M. Rios
- Ferguson isn’t about black rage against cops. It’s white rage against progress by Carol Anderson
- The Destruction of Black Wallstreet By Josie Pickens
Resources for Educators:
Many of these resources are from the following radical educational guides:
- SFUDD Librarians for Social Justice present a Black Lives Matter Library Guide
- Teaching for Change presents Teaching About Ferguson By Julian Hipkins III
- Putting the Movement Back into Civil Rights Teaching published by Teaching for Change and Poverty and Race Research Action Council
- Catalyst Project: Anti-Racism for Collective Liberation