If you’re frustrated with the political system, you should be. If you’re frustrated with the criminal justice system, you should be. If you’re frustrated with the education system, you should be.
The U.S. education system is not crafted to encourage and support marginalized students to achieve their best selves. At its core, it is designed to train social behaviors that reinforce the competency of an age-old crumbling system. This is ground zero for inequity.
Some students navigate the maze of education with a guiding light or even a helping hand while others constantly bump into dead ends and unlit corridors. The latter students may never find the exit, but to their dismay they are still in the maze.
Martin Luther King Jr. said simply that “intelligence plus character — that is the goal of true education.” It is my belief that all of the inequities around us can be traced back to the lack of education. The lack of understanding how the criminal justice system wrongfully and painfully separates African-American families at an astoundingly disproportionate rate. The lack of understanding how government on a federal, state, and most importantly, on a local level affects the ways in which we each govern our daily lives. The lack of knowledge of the atrocities and cultural hemorrhaging that Indigenous Communities have faced ever since Europeans set foot on this continent.
George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. We mourn your loss and the loss of thousands of other African-Americans at the hands of police in the U.S. We stand up for you in solidarity and love.
It is up to you(th) to take the reins and to change through their education.
What can you(th) do?
Very simply put, be civically engaged.
1. Make the time to attend the following meetings with your friends:
- School Board Meetings
- Town Hall and City Counsel Meetings
2. Register to vote!
If you’re 16 in Oregon, you are legally allowed to register. Not only that, but once you get your ballot – do you research and VOTE THAT DAY! Only 46.1% of active voters returned their ballots for the May 19, 2020 election – ONLY 46%!
Learn more about your voting rights as a student at NextUpOregon.org.
3. Ask questions and research.
Understand the systems in which you live. Ask your teachers. Ask professionals. Ask your government. Ask your friends and your parents. Read articles and books. Watch videos, documentaries, and interviews.
- Me and White Supremacy. Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become A Good Ancestor – by Saad, Layla F.
- The Characteristics of White Supremacy Culture – by Kenneth Jones & Teme Okun (article)
- MLK called riots the ‘language of the unheard’. If we don’t listen, we’ll only have more of them. – by Aaron Colen (article)
- We need to talk about an injustice – TedTalk by Bryan Stevenson
- When They See Us – Creator Ava DuVernay (Documentary on Netflix)
- American Son – Creator/Writer Christopher Demos-Brown (Documentary on Netflix)
- Dear White People – Creator Justin Simien (TV show on Netflix & Movie)
- Between The World & Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (book)
- Are Prisons Obsolete by Angela Davis (book)
- When They Call You A Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Asha Bandele & Patrisse Cullors (book)
- White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo (book)
- Me & White Supremacy by Layla Saad (book)
- The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander (book)
- Join Passion Impact for Informational Interviews with professionals
4. Donate, sign petitions, & understand.
- Portland specific organization donation pages:
- Petitions, places to donate, activists to follow on social media, resources for protesters & more can be found here: www.blacklivesmatter.carrd.co
- A resource guide for white and non-black POC around being an accomplice during this time: www.whiteaccomplices.org
Students, you have the power. Be passionate. Do your research. Join communities. Advocate for your beliefs.
Your Passion Impact Team