Our District and its community of educators will observe Friday, February 16, as Black Lives Matter at School: A Day of Understanding & Affirmation. This day is not part of the national Black Lives Matter Movement. Proposed by a group of Rochester educators and parents, the voluntary observance on February 16 is supported by the Board of Education and the bargaining units that represent Rochester teachers, school administrators and paraprofessionals.
How did this day come to be in Rochester? Is it part of the national Black Lives Matter movement?
Black Lives Matter at School is not an official part of the Black Lives Matter movement. Here, it began with a small group of parents, teachers and community members who shared a vision that diverse community partners could create “a day of education, dialog and action that will actively engage a significant number of educational communities throughout Monroe County in activities which support understanding and affirmation of Black Lives.” This day is meant as the beginning of ongoing dialog, education and action. The Board of Education and bargaining units that represent teachers and administrators have formally supported this vision.Don’t all lives matter?Of course all lives matter. However, 57% of our students are black, and by almost every measure, people of color are not treated equally by our society. It is especially important to highlight the value of black lives in a society whose history involves centuries of slavery and denial of civil rights to black citizens, the impacts of which continue to this day. Affirming one thing as valuable and deserving of attention does not automatically devalue another, just as when a parent says they love one child, they are not offending or excluding their other children. Similarly, saying that black lives matter does not mean that brown, white or “blue” (police) lives don’t matter. It simply means that black lives deserve special affirmation, understanding and attention in our District and the rest of society right now.How do I engage and participate?We encourage District staff to use the resources below that are being provided as starting points.The most important thing we can do is to use the relationships we have with students to share powerful, thoughtful, engaging and respectful dialog in classrooms across the city. During the event, use #BLM585EDU, #BlackLivesMatteratSchool and tag @RCSDNYS.