What Was Missing from the State of the Union Address?
Black History Month is here. As I read the transcript of the President's State of the Union address, I thought about the origins of Black History Month and how the nation has changed since that auspicious beginning in 1926. At the Communities for Just Schools Fund, we are clear that creating healthy schools that serve all children equitably requires uprooting and destroying, forevermore, racism and all of its evil tendrils - implicit bias, the myth of white supremacy, broken narratives about people of color. What was missing in the SOTU speech was any mention of the twins, race or racism, or any of their compatriots. That erasure is yet another signal, a message to those who would absorb it, to continue to dismiss and reject every possible cure for the nation's racial illness, at all costs. As Ralph Ellison wrote in Invisible Man, however, "America is woven of many strands... Our fate is to become one, and yet many - this is not prophecy, but description." We simply are who we are as a nation, and we are changing.
At CJSF, we recognize Black History Month. We are hosting a screening of the movie Black Panther - together with our friends at Frontline Solutions, Ghost Note, and PushBlack - at which we will welcome CJSF partners Dream Defenders and Philadelphia Student Union in a panel discussion to center the voices of Black children and Black community in ongoing movement activity that is developing and disseminating that multifaceted cure for racial illness starting in the nation's schools.
We also will continue to work with partners like Gwinnett SToPP in Georgia, as we did in this co-authored USA Today op-ed, to stop this administration's systematic erasure of race-focused federal policies that protect young people in schools.
We welcome all of you to share on social media the things you are doing to uproot and destroy racism in education. Use the hashtag #JustSchools to share your story so that the world can see just how powerful we are together. #BlackHistoryMonth #WeWillWin.
Allison R. Brown
Communities for Just Schools Fund