Black History Month 2018 may have ended, but our commitment to Black History education endures.
Our commitment to liberating the minds of our youth endures. Our commitment to young people like Malcolm Xavier Combs, who was not allowed to put Malcom X on his senior sweater, endures. Our commitment to educators like Bronx teacher Mercedes Liriano Clark, who taught about the Harlem Renaissance in defiance of a principal who instructed her not to. Our commitment to educators and English teacher Mercedes Liriano Clark endures.
Our commitment to W. E. B. DuBois High School, right here in Crown Heights, a school the Department of Education planned to close and remove W. E. B. DuBois’ name – a name with a deep connections to Brooklyn, a renowned scholar, a co-founder of the NAACP, and a civil rights hero – our commitment to W. E. B. DuBois High School endures. Our commitment to Medgar Evers College Preparatory School, a two minute walk away, a school the Department of Education tried to dismantle, and we joined together as a community and made them think again. Our commitment to Medgar Evers College Prep endures.
Our commitment to mentorship, that goes back to my first days in office in 2015. endures. Our commitment to the Campus, the first in the nation combining tech, wellness, arts and culture, and career development at a public housing site. Our commitment to innovating, partnerships to lift up our communities and our youth endures.
Our effort to get Black History into New York schools kindergarten through 12th grade, yes in February, and in every month of the year endures.
I’ve been working to advance education and I have believed Black Minds Mattersince I was a school board president in this community years ago. Black mindsmattered to me in my first days in the New York State Senate, putting together mentorship events. Black Minds Matter was in our hearts when we founded the Campus with the Howard Houses Community Center, Brownsville Brooklyn Public Library, P.S. 298 the Dr Betty Shabazz School, the Brownsville Collaborative Middle School, and dozens of community partners and government agencies.
A few weeks ago, we took students from Brownsville to a screening of Black Panther. The next weekend I went with my family.
Black minds mattered to us yesterday. Black minds matter to us today. Black mindswill matter to us tomorrow.
Where were the newly woke people yesterday? Where were newly woke people when we sat in at the Department of Education to protest what they were doing to Medgar Evers College Prep?
Where were the newly woke people when Rysheen Ervin was shot on September 21st, 2016, steps away from our first Campus meeting at Howard Houses? Where were they when we prayed for him? Where were they when we learned he passed away?
Where will the newly woke people be tomorrow?
Privilege is a form of discrimination that has an affect on our every day lives. We shall not be moved. We will continue to stand together, in solidarity with our students, our young people, our educators, and we will continue to say Black Minds Matter.
Wakanda Forever. Black Minds Matter.