Dear Teacher Facing Repression, ‘
I am taking an AP African American Studies class and it has taught me the importance of unity and liberty. I am angry that our people are being halted and stopped from sharing information. I want you to know I am here for you and I support you.
West Philly Senior
Teacher Solidarity Postcard #2, all postcards can be viewed here.
Dear repressed teacher,
I am a student who takes the AP AAS course. A course that is banned in Florida, which is very unfair for both the students and teachers. Black history should never be taken away. I hope this letter reaches you well, and that it encourages you to keep up the fight. The fight for Black History.
A Black Student in West Philly
AP AAS Goal #3 and An Open Letter Calling for Teacher Solidarity
Dear Socially Conscious Teacher,
It’s 2024 and I want to follow up with an open letter I wrote about Florida’s ban of Advanced Placement African American Studies (AP AAS), and share with you my third goal for my pilot of the AP AAS course. My 3rd goal is to foster student activism, and my students are currently doing so by showing solidarity with teachers. (Read here for 1st and 2nd goals).
After Ron DeSantis banned AP AAS in Florida, I wrongly assumed there would be a larger backlash. I could not have been more wrong. The move to ban the course now feels like a nationwide push for Black history repression. Since then we have seen AP AAS not count for graduation credit in Arkansas, teachers quit because they can not use the words “Black Excellence,” Black history and Black literature optional electives removed by all white school boards, the removal of Toni Morrison from library shelves, and more. I imagine you continue to be just infuriated as I am.
Now is the time more than ever to show solidarity with teachers. In growing areas of the country teachers are increasingly facing repression and worse. Depending on their school board, nearby possible Karents, and state legislators, teachers in a number of locations are not just frustrated, they are scared. Scared they will say the wrong thing and a parent will complain. Scared they will teach a lesson and get fired. Moreover, they are increasingly unable to put social justice and history knowledge in front of students of color. The denial of Black history for Black students is a wheel that never stops.
As Dr. Bettina Love argues, “to start dismantling wokeness after more than 180 years of public education is a pathetic attempt at a political power grab. It is political power being expressed at the expense of what Black children need for educational opportunities as well as justice for all children.” Indeed, Black history repression is just one tool in the white supremacist power grab over education curricula.
I share ALL of this regularly with my small group of Advanced Placement African American Studies seniors. I want them to go to college with knowledge and activism in mind, so that no matter what they choose to study they can give back to the Black community, especially when it comes to the knowledge of Black history. I want them to pass on their activism in challenging the ability to become an empowered Black intellectual.
My students, as part of their activism, designed and created teacher solidarity postcards. They are beautiful. I will be mailing them to a few connections I have made in Florida. They will then be distributed among teachers to encourage acknowledgement of what they are experiencing and empowerment.
To show solidarity with these teachers, my students, and myself please do the following:
- Take a look at them, read their words, be inspired, and share them with others
- Show solidarity by – contacting me if you know a teacher facing repression that could use an uplifting boost from a student in west Philly. I will mail a few of the postcards with them.
- Continue to speak out against the repression of Black History education.
We can do this for our Black children. I’m with Rann Miller “We cannot keep fighting the fight for antiracism in isolation from each other. We must stand together, not only in our schools and our districts. We must travel on behalf of each other and Black children.”
All solidarity postcards can be viewed here.