We have to deconstruct the way that science is taught, the concepts that are included and the concepts that are excluded, because what we’re not talking about is also a problem—those silences in our curriculum are problematic.
Lorena Germán has worked in education for nearly 20 years. As director of pedagogy at EduColor, chair of the National Council of Teachers of English Committee Against Racism and Bias in the Teaching of English, and co-founder of Multicultural Classroom, she has advocated for culturally sustaining pedagogy and practices. Nearly three years ago, Germán joined together with educators Tricia Ebarvia, Dr. Kim Parker, and Julia E. Torres to form #DisruptTexts, a grassroots movement encouraging K-12 English teachers to rethink their approach to teaching the “classics,” including deciding whether they need to teach them at all. In 2019, she published The Anti Racist Teacher: Reading Instruction Workbook, a resource to help educators develop anti-racist practices in their ELA classes. And late last year, Germán sat down with then-TT Professional Development Manager Val Brown to discuss the damage white supremacy causes in education—and the uplift inherent in reimagining the process. Their conversation included here, has been edited for length and clarity.
Lorena Germán has worked in education for nearly 20 years. As director of pedagogy at EduColor, chair of the National Council of Teachers of English Committee Against Racism and Bias in the Teaching of English and co-founder of Multicultural Classroom, she has advocated for culturally sustaining pedagogy and practices.
While COVID-19 has killed 1 out of every 800 African Americans, a toll that overwhelms the imagination, even more stunning is the deadly efficiency with which it has targeted young Black men like Bates. One study using data through July found that Black people ages 35 to 44 were dying at nine times the rate of white people the same age, though the gap slightly narrowed later in the year. And in an analysis for ProPublica this summer using the only reliable data at the time accounting for age, race and gender, from Michigan and Georgia, Harvard researcher Tamara Rushovich found that the disparity was greatest in Black men.
They were pillars of their communities and families, and they are not replaceable. To understand why COVID-19 killed so many young Black men, you need to know the legend of John Henry.
The Rev. Dr. Kejuane Artez Bates was a big man with big responsibilities. The arrival of the novel coronavirus in Vidalia, Louisiana, was another burden on a body already breaking under the load. Bates was in his 10th year with the Vidalia Police Department, assigned as a resource officer to the upper elementary school.
For generations, African Americans in this country have faced an anti-Black pandemic. From the unjust killings of innocent African Americans to the disproportionate impact of a global health pandemic, Black people have been getting attacked on all fronts. This moment has exposed the inequality embedded in the underlying fabric of our nation.
Join the thousands – virtually-who will March on Washington to set forth a bold new Black agenda restore and recommit to the dream. The Commitment March, convened by Rev. Al Sharpton and Martin Luther King III, will gather at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., for an inclusive day of action.
The 2020 Virtual March on Washington and the Commitment March will take place on the 57th anniversary of the historic March on Washington, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech.
2020 Virtual March On Washington
Join us Aug 27-28, 2020 for a virtual March on Washington.
Many statues like the one next to the Culpeper courthouse were built across the South during the Jim Crow era (from 1877 to the 1950s) to intimidate Blacks, send a message about white supremacy and sentimentalize Confederate soldiers, according to historians.
NAACP | WHEN “HERITAGE” MEANS HATE
Confederate flags and statues abound in America. Klansmen, neo-Nazis, and white nationalists defend them as an innocent representation of their “American Heritage,” but we know that these symbols glorify treason and a hateful history of white supremacy and black subjugation. In order for our country to move forward – to become a nation united and free from inequity and bigotry – we must remove Confederate symbols from the parks, schools, streets, counties, and military bases that define America’s landscape and culture.
Times change — or rather, times are changed. Prompted by the historic, inspiring, powerful nationwide Black Lives Matter protests following the murder of George Floyd — and Trump’s appalling use of the military to occupy Washington D.C. in response — Democratic leaders in the House moved forward on the D.C. statehood bill. Last week, for the first time in history, the House passed a bill that would make Washington, D.C. the 51st state in the union. The new state would be admitted as the state of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth — named after famed abolitionist and civil rights leader Frederick Douglass.
Why is D.C. statehood a response at all to nationwide Black Lives Matter protests? To answer that question, you’ve got to ask another: why does a geographic area in America with more residents than two states, and that pays more federal taxes than 22 states, lack any voting representation in Congress?
The answer to that question goes back long before that first D.C. state constitution draft. You could of course go all the way back to the founding of the country, but let’s jump to 1890. In that year, a southern conservative Senator gave a speech to explain why Congress chose to disenfranchise D.C. residents at the precise moment that the Black population was becoming a political force in the District. The full quote is worth a read:
“Now, the historical fact is simply this, that the negroes came into this District from Virginia and Maryland and from other places…they came in here and they took possession of a certain part of the political power of this District…and there was but one way to get out…and that was to deny the right of suffrage entirely to every human being in the District and have every office here controlled by appointment instead of by election…in order to get rid of this load of negro suffrage that was flooded in upon them. This is the true statement. History cannot be reversed. No man can misunderstand it.”
Those are the words written into the congressional record. No one can misunderstand it.
The Senate Filibuster Is Another Monument to White Supremacy
Tear it down.
Fast forward 130 years.
After the House passed the D.C. statehood bill last week, another southern Senator took the floor of the U.S. Senate to discuss voting rights for D.C. residents. Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas explained why Wyoming’s overwhelmingly white population of 578,000 should have two senators, while D.C.’s majority Black and brown population of 705,000 should have zero senators. Wyoming, he pointed out, “has three times as many workers in mining, logging, and construction.”
This isn’t subtle. Cotton’s message was loud and clear. No one should misunderstand it.
Now, Tom Cotton’s speech was mostly just bombast and bluster. He didn’t need to even give the speech, because he knows perfectly well that as long as Mitch McConnell serves as Senate Majority Leader, D.C. statehood will never even come to a vote in the Senate. Last year McConnell took to the Senate floor to describe D.C. statehood as “full-bore socialism.”
D.C.’s statehood may have felt like a far-away dream even a few months ago. But the Democratic House has now signaled its support. The Democratic senators have signaled their support. Joe Biden has signaled his support. If we build a Democratic trifecta this November, we could be welcoming D.C. to the Union as soon as next year. It’s the right thing to do. And it’s long — like a hundred years plus — overdue.
Ezra & Leah
Co-founders & Co-Executive Directors, Indivisible
It’s time for America to truly grapple with its legacy of slavery.
“There are those in this society that still hold on to the idea that the Civil War wasn’t about slavery, it was about states’ rights or Northern aggression against slavery,” says Karlos Hill, a professor of African and African-American studies at the University of Oklahoma and the author of Beyond the Rope: The Impact of Lynching on Black Culture and Memory. “Juneteenth is a moment where we step back and try to understand the Civil War through the eyes of enslaved people.”
Why celebrating Juneteenth is more important now than ever
In many ways, Juneteenth represents how freedom and justice in the US has always been delayed for black people. The decades after the end of the war would see a wave of lynching, imprisonment, and Jim Crow laws take root. What followed was the disproportionate impact of mass incarceration, discriminatory housing policies, and a lack of economic investment. And now, as national attention remain focused on acts of police violence and various racial profiling incidents, it is clear that while progress has been made in black America’s 150 years out of bondage, considerable barriers continue to impede that progress.
The Culpeper branch of the NAACP holds its regular monthly meeting at 7 p.m. on the 3rd Thursday of each month. We are currently meeting at Antioch Baptist Church at 202 S. West Street, Culpeper, 22701. All are welcome; you do not have to be a member to attend.