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How to Celebrate Joyful, Loving and Radical Black Futures in our Schools

Art by Brandie Bowen for the CA Partnership for the Future of Learning Reimagine and Rebuild Arts Showcase

Are you ready to discuss bold Black Futures this month, because we are! We’re ready to imagine and build towards a future where Black students, parents and communities are honored for their power, uplifted and centered in the public school system. 

This February and throughout the year, CFJ is examining what joyful, loving and radical Black futures look like in CA public schools. We’re asking ourselves and supporters:

  • What must exist in CA schools for Black students and families to thrive?
  • How do our current expectations of students’ academic achievement and behavior uphold white supremacy? 
  • How can we reimagine our schools to center Black students and families as co-owners in decision-making processes?
  • What will cultural and material reparations look like in our schools?

We know this work starts with school leaders naming the harm of current school structures like policing in schools, tardy sweeps and behavioral expectations centering whiteness. To move forward we must acknowledge the reality of our public school system normalizing the school-to-prison pipeline and accepting disproportionate outcomes for Black students compared to white peers. The CA public school system must transform to meet the needs of Black families – a goal it was not initially designed to achieve.

So join us! We’re calling on state leaders, school admin, educators, students and community to work together. We can reimagine and rebuild our school system into one that puts power into the hands of Black students and families. It’s radical but not hard to begin! It starts with listening to Black students and families on a regular basis – not just sometimes in February.

“In my history class, we took a pause to talk to each other about what was happening in the world around the time of Black Lives Matter uprisings and the elections. It made me feel really good to take time from class to just talk to each other, like a normal people conversation, about current events that were happening that impacted my community.”

– Eliana Walls, CFJ Youth Leader, 12th Grade, Long Beach. 

Rebuilding and reimagining our schools requires cultural and monetary reparations to address historical harm. Black organizers and allies have already made huge strides in recent years: From Black Organizing Project’s historic campaign to dismantle the Oakland Unified school police force, to CFJ youth leaders demanding the creation of a Black Student Achievement Initiative in Long Beach Unified, and our education coalition’s win securing $3 Billion in state funding for Community schools – these are the investments, organizing and bold demands that we can build on to transform our education system into a place of celebration, healing and radical Black joy that students and families deserve. 

Stay tuned and follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to see more content during Black Futures month!

  • Original poetry celebrating radical Black Futures
  • Conversations with Black Teachers on why representation and investment matters
  • Political education – how Black History has sown the seeds for Black Futures

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