In this moment of transformative possibility, amid activists’ growing calls to defund and abolish the police, young people across the country are leading a movement to remove police officers from schools. They are demanding that city and school district leaders reallocate funding for police into services and resources for students, including counseling, social workers and restorative justice programming. The movement for police-free schools has a long history of Black youth leading this fight as a key strategy to dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline, a process of funneling predominately Black and Latinx students out of schools and into the juvenile legal system.
Public pressure is mounting to free a 15-year-old Black girl sent to Oakland County juvenile detention for not doing her homework. The girl is known only by her middle name, Grace. She was on probation for some minor offenses, such as fighting with her mother and taking another child's iPad. In May, Oakland County Judge Mary Ellen Brennan incarcerated Grace for violating probation. Her crime: failing to do her online schoolwork for Birmingham Groves High School. Grace's attorney, Jonathan Biernat, filed a motion on Thursday asking Oakland County Judge Mary Ellen Brennan to reconsider Grace's detention.
History was made on the Pine Mountain Settlement School campus this November 2019, when the first ever Black Appalachian Young and Rising gathering was held there, bringing together more than 40 young African American Appalachians to discuss change-making in the region. The purpose of the gathering was to create a welcoming and safe space for Black youth in Central Appalachia, and to discuss challenges and opportunities in the region.
Assata’s Daughters is a Chicago-based collective that embraces a Black radical perspective to serve their Washington Park community. One of their newest programs is a food justice-oriented garden. Members will provide food to the community, share knowledge about gardening and conservation, and teach “the importance of self-sustainment as a tool of resistance.” They also just announced a free farm stand and a partnership with a nearby corner store to provide free produce to their neighbors all summer. As Blavity noted in their report on the initiative, increasing access to fresh, nutrient-rich foods is key for Black communities, which are often disproportionately affected by food deserts. After cyber-sharing their wishlist for the garden project earlier this week, Assata’s Daughters announced on Tuesday that each item on it had been ordered and sent.
As Truthdig columnist Sonali Kolhatkar points out in her column this week, black Americans are eight times more likely to be killed by firearms than those who are white, and they are disproportionately affected by police violence. Kolhatkar also lauded the students who organized the March for Our Lives for their inclusive approach, saying that they “did a far better job of centering the voices of people of color than the mainstream media did.” But the students at Wednesday’s press conference expressed concern that in the aftermath of the shooting, increasing police presence at their predominantly white school could lead to them being unfairly targeted. Seventeen-year-old Kai Koerber said that more law enforcement on campus could lead to him and other black students being treated like “potential criminals.”
By Staff of Black Youth Project - At this point in human history, college has become damn-near mandatory for acquiring employment and, dare I say, being validated as a functional adult in our society. The “prestige” of attending an institution of higher education yields visions of flying graduation caps, late nights studying in the library, and long, long, looong walks across campus to get from this class to that. The whimsicalness of attending a university also comes with continually rising tuition costs that dump mountains of debt upon the shoulders of teenagers and young adults who may not have access to enough scholarships and government assistance to ease those burdens, which can take a toll on your mental health. The internet–a virtual space which we are continually told is only for memes, Black Twitter draggings, and long rabbit hole journeys on Wikipedia–can be a great resource for alternatives to university. It provides opportunities to help create a cheap, independent curriculum that can help Black students to build a career or business. Here are a few ways that one could create a sustainable career by using the internet to cultivate an untraditional education and acquire skills necessary to succeed in the workforce or as an entrepreneur. Rewarding careers that contribute to society are not limited to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields. And white knowledge production through the academic institution is not the only legitimate way to learn.
By Staff of Take Part - Black students have 68.2 percent more student loan debt than white students when they graduate from college, according to a recent study by researchers at Dartmouth College. The study, published in the journal Race and Social Problems, found that black students are more likely to attend pricey, for-profit institutions, and they’re not as protected by their parents’ wealth. The average net worth of white parents is $174,841, which is nearly four times higher than the $48,494 average net worth of black parents.
By Dick Startz for The Huffington Post - As we recently celebrated Dr. King’s life, it is worth examining the difference in how our schools discipline black and white children. In public schools in the United States, black children are twice as likely as white children to be subject to corporal punishment. Figure 1 shows the comparison, derived from nationwide data reported by schools to the Office of Civil Rights, Department of Education. (All data is for the 2011-2012 school year, the latest year available.) The continuing disproportionate corporal punishment of black children is a reminder that some aspects of the “bad old days” are not fully behind us.
By Angelique Smith for Windy City Times - "If those of us who are the most marginalized are safer and more protected, it will improve the lives of everybody."—Charlene Carruthers, national director of Black Youth Project 100. The Black Youth Project 100 ( BYP100 ), a collective of young Black activists that started in 2013 in the wake of the George Zimmerman verdict, has been one of the main organizations leading the recent protests around the 2014 killing of Laquan McDonald by a white police officer. Windy City Times spoke with leader Charlene Carruthers about the their mission to create justice where there is none.
By Marian Wright Edelman in Children's Defense Fund - A few weeks after Tamir’s death she stood at a Washington, D.C. rally with Trayvon Martin’s mother and the families of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and other urnarmed Black boys and men killed by police and told the crowd: “I have one thing to say to the police force: Don’t shoot. Our children want to grow up.” Our children want to grow up. Our children deserve to grow up. And it is the responsibility of every adult in every sector to see they grow up safely and respected and seen and are not subject to “othering”—as someone less than or apart from ourselves. Until we can achieve a profound change in law enforcement culture and their taking as much care in protecting Black boys’ lives as White boys’ lives, our children are going to remain at risk. That places a burden on Black parents and faith congregations and community leaders and educators and everyone who believes in justice to stand up and do everything possible to make sure our children get home safely and can reach adulthood.