In Its Second Year, Black Lives Matter Week of Action Goes National

My school community, The Fellowship: Black Male Educators for Social Justice, and I are proud to partner with organizations across the city and country for the National Black Lives Matter Week of Action (2/5/18-2/10/18). Last year, I wrote, “We Gotta Do Something About Those Radical Black Lives Matter Folks.”

Read more about this year’s work, penned by the Caucus of Working Educators, and originally posted here.

“Your silence will not protect you.” – Audre Lorde

As 2018 begins, our schools continue to manifest structural inequality created by racial injustices at all levels of the education system.  From the impact of zero tolerance policies that criminalize Black and Brown students and the exclusion of voices of people of color from curriculum, to the persistent loss of teachers of color from urban schools, the movement for Black Lives has never mattered more in the fight for the schools our students deserve.

We are working for a world where Black lives are no longer systematically targeted for demise. – #BlackLivesMatter

The Racial Justice Committee of the Caucus of Working Educators, and organizations across Philadelphia, including UrbED, PhillyCAM, the Philadelphia Writing Project, the Philadelphia Home and School Association, Parents United for Public Education, and the Teacher Action Group – are organizing the second annual week highlighting the 13 guiding principles of the Black Lives Matter Movement in order to organize for racial and economic justice required to shift the inequalities impacting the lives of students, families, and educators working in Philadelphia’s public schools.  In 2018, the week of action is nationwide, with educators and organizations participating in schools and cities across the country.

This year, we are taking our work to the next level, making national and local demands in order to end structural racism in our school systems.

During the week and beyond, we will organize around three main local demands, which are tied to demands on a national level: ending zero tolerance policies, requiring anti-racism training for all Philadelphia educators, and hiring and retaining of teachers of color in Philadelphia’s public schools.

#BLMPhlED  #BlackLivesMatteratSchool

As the week begins on February 5, we ask that educators across the city join us in wearing Philly Educators Black Lives Matter t-shirts and buttons.  There are events planned throughout the week, open source curriculum to come, including activities based upon the 13 Guiding Principles of Black Lives Matter.

If you are interested in learning more or organizing around the campaign with your school or community organization, please complete this form, and join us at our Monthly Organizing Meeting on January 9th from 4:30 to 6:30 at KCAPA (1901 N. Front St.).

We welcome students, teachers, community organizations, and parents to participate. As we get closer to the week, you can find an updated calendar of events at, and additional curriculum resources and ways to support at  For more information on the campaign, go to the Black Lives Matter Week of Action Facebook pageand visit our FAQs page. You can also email [email protected] with questions.

We hope that you will join us as we organize for racial justice and build collective power around fighting for the schools our students deserve – nationwide.

Looking Back to 2017

In 2017, educators in more than 100 schools organized for Philly’s first Black Lives Matter Week of Action.  Organized around the 13 principles of the Black Lives Matter movement, students created galleries of work and educators built powerful curriculum resources.  Organizations signed a widespread statement of support, and hundreds of university level educators signed in solidarity.  At nightly events, and the local school level,  educators across Philadelphia organized their classrooms, schools, and neighborhoods  to focus on racial justice.  You can read more about last year’s week here.

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About the author

Sharif El-Mekki

Sharif El-Mekki is the principal of Mastery Charter School–Shoemaker Campus, a neighborhood public charter school in Philadelphia that serves 750 students in grades 7-12. From 2013-2015, he was one of three principal ambassador fellows working on issues of education policy and practice with U.S. Department of Education under Secretary Arne Duncan.

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