A teachers union in Virginia has been called out for promoting a Black Lives Matter organization that allegedly ‘advances racial justice’ and for children to ‘work towards a queer-affirming network’ Says
The Virginia Education Association released a toolkit last month encouraging members to get involved in the Black Lives Matter at Schools organization’s ‘Week of Action’ that began February 6.
A recent Wall Street Journal opinion piece accused the union of ‘using its pipeline of teachers to promote left-wing political agendas and teaching of activism’.
The toolkit reportedly shows how teachers can ban the important race theory, which has been blocked in dozens of states across the US, including Virginia, where Gov. Glenn Youngkin banned it in 2021.
The ‘Work of the Week’ focuses on the organisation’s 13 principles, including ‘transgender affirmation’, ‘queer affirmation’, ‘restorative justice’ and ‘globalism’.
Virginia Education Association (VEA) releases toolkit that advances Black Lives Matter initiative at school Week of Action
A recent Wall Street Journal opinion piece claims that Toolkit and BLM events are how they use its pipeline to ‘promote left-wing political agendas and activism pedagogy’.
The VEA’s toolkit was released with the statement: ‘Black Lives Matter is attached to the Virginia Education Association’s School Toolkit, which will be used as a resource guide to advance racial justice in Virginia schools. Black Lives Matter at the school is a national coalition organized for racial justice in education.
The union encouraged its members to participate and offered an instructional booklet ‘for use as a resource guide for advancing racial justice in Virginia schools’, according to the Human and Civil Rights Division at the VEA. According to a memo from director Taisha Steele.
The WSJ opinion piece translates to ‘advancing racial justice’ as ‘adhering to the highly political agenda of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement’.
The column claimed that the toolkit materials promote the organization and its principles which include: ‘working toward a gay-affirming network where heteronormative thinking no longer exists,’ and ‘disruption of Western nuclear family dynamics and Return to ‘collective village’ that takes care of each other.
Toolkit contains lesson plans that link to resources for discussions about how to analyze the importance/importance of 13 core principles for their local community and thinking about how they can get involved in the BLM movement or other causes.
Artwork created by students during Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action was compiled into a 2023 video titled Student Creative Challenge, which asks ‘How a school community can help you be Black without offense’ Can do?’
The artwork carries messages from students on how they support the BLM organization by making ‘flags and marches’ and ‘writing a report on a black person’.
Student artwork during Black Lives Matter at School week of action
Some of the artwork features messages and images of ways to support the BLM movement
Students share their feelings about being black or supporting the BLM movement
Students create art showing their pride along with a call to end racism
VEA President James Federman released a statement about the toolkit:
“As stated on the first page, the goal of the toolkit is to inspire an ongoing movement of critical reflection and honest conversation on issues of racial justice,” he said in a statement.
‘Some people, like Governor Yangqin, find this an objectionable stance, but we are unrelenting in our support of this goal. As an association of public school teachers, we want nothing more than to present an accurate portrayal of America’s past, without which we will not be able to make the progress we so desperately need as a nation.’
Sixteen states have banned CRTs and 20 are considering banning them. There are six states where the ban failed to pass and eight states where there is no ban at all.
Opponents of the critical race theory rally outside a school board headquarters in Virginia in 2021
Critical race theory, or CRT, is a way of thinking about America’s history through the lens of racism. It centers on the idea that racism is systemic in the nation’s institutions and that they serve to maintain the dominance of white people in society.
There is no evidence that CRT has been formally adopted into the state’s curriculum. But there is ample evidence that leading education administrators have incorporated the concept into teacher training. And critics have found examples of critical race theory pervading classroom lessons.
Youngkin’s Executive Order 1 defines critical race theory as ‘inherently divisive concepts that portray a race, gender, or religious belief as inherently superior, or teach that a person should Skin color is inherently racist as a result.
The order takes a more limited approach than those adopted by other states. In Tennessee, for example, lawmakers have banned any instruction that causes students to feel ‘discomfort, guilt, anguish, or another form of psychological distress’ because of their race.
13 Principles of the Black Lives Matter Movement
1. Restorative Justice: We are committed to working collectively, lovingly, and courageously for freedom and justice for Black people and, by extension, for all people. As we forge our path, we intentionally build and nurture a loving community, bound together through a beautiful struggle that will not subside.
2. Empathy: We are committed to practicing empathy; We add comrades with the intention of knowing and connecting with their references.
3. Loving Attachment: We are committed to embodying and practicing justice, liberation, and peace in our relationships with each other.
4. Diversity: We are committed to accepting, respecting and celebrating difference(s) and similarities.
5. Globalization: We see ourselves as part of the global Black family and we are aware of the different ways in which we are affected or privileged as Black folk that exist in different parts of the world.
6. Bizarre Affirmation: We are committed to fostering a queer-affirming network. When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the shackles of heterosexual thinking or, rather, the belief that everyone in the world is heterosexual, unless he or she reveals otherwise.
7. Trance Affirmation: We are committed to embracing and creating space for trans brothers and sisters to participate and lead. We are committed to being self-reflective and doing the necessary work to end cis-gender privilege and to uplift Black trans folk, especially Black trans women, who are disproportionately affected by anti-trans violence. continue to be affected.
8. Collective Values: We are guided by the lives of all Black people regardless of actual or perceived sexual identity, gender identity, gender expression, economic status, ability, disability, religious belief or disbelief, immigration status or location.
9. Intergenerational: We are committed to fostering an inter-generational and communal network free from ageism. We believe that all people, regardless of age, show the potential to lead and learn.
10. Black Family: We are committed to making our venues family friendly and enabling parents to fully participate with their children. We are committed to dismantling the patriarchal practice that requires mothers to work ‘double shifts’, requiring them to attend to the work of justice even as they mother privately.
11. Black Village: We are committed to disrupting the need for a Western-prescribed nuclear family structure by supporting each other as extended families and ‘villages’ who collectively care for each other, and especially ‘our ‘ children to the extent that the mother, the parents and the children are comfortable.
12. Unexpectedly Black: We are involuntarily black in our position. In affirming Black Lives Matter, we don’t need to qualify our position. To love and desire liberty and justice for oneself is a necessary condition for wanting the same for others.
13. Black Women: We are committed to building a Black woman affirming space free of sexism, misogyny, and male-centrism.
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