Georgia district hosts weeklong Black Lives Matter event

Education sessions for students highlight the DeKalb Schools' celebration of the movement.
By: | November 9, 2020
A protester holds a Black Lives Matter sign in front of the Confederate carving in Stone Mountain Park in Georgia. Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

The DeKalb County School District in Georgia kicked off a Black Lives Matter Week of Action 2020 on Monday with a proclamation of the event and a celebration of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

The celebration, “an affirmation of the district’s commitment to students, staff and communities of color,” includes seven days of education content being taught to students around messages of equality as well as a host of other activities, including a My Black is Beautiful Unity Day on Wednesday and a student-led panel discussion.

“DeKalb County School District is a diverse school district, and we celebrate that beautiful diversity in every way,” Superintendent Cheryl Watson-Harris said. “Black Lives Matter at DeKalb Schools Week of Action 2020 gives our scholars and staff an opportunity to recognize the positive images for our students in our communities while speaking out against racial and social injustices in our communities.”

The Board of Education had approved the measure in July and the district has been working hard to put together a program that includes a tremendous instructional set of sessions for all grades levels:

  • At K-5, there will be an exploration of race and racial identity in children’s books; and a Singing for Peace session along with an environmental justice discussion for grades 3-5.
  • For grades 3-8, there is a session that asks, “Was there ever a part of your identity that you had to hide?”; another on responsibilities and basic rights; Mathematics For Our Past, a look at diversity and tolerance; and a critical viewer activity that examines the role brands play in perpetuating stereotypes in advertising.
  • For grades 6-12, there are deeper dives on the truths – and myths – about voting and the Reconstruction Amendments.
  • And for grades 9-12, a look at school segregation that existed before and after the famous Brown v. Board of Education ruling.

In addition to the education sessions, on Tuesday the school district will recognize black-owned businesses and on Thursday host a signature event: the Black Lives Matter Conference: Celebrating the Black Contribution to America.

“In today’s society, the Black Lives Matter Movement represents a visual representation of what our ancestors fought for throughout history,” School Board Member Diijon DaCosta said. “Our ancestors fought for justice, freedom, equality, and change, which benefits minorities and people of color. We must continue to build on their legacy by being involved, staying informed, and choosing to let our voices be heard. Now is the time to shift the narrative towards progressive change, diversity, and inclusion. We cannot allow ourselves to continue negative behaviors from the past that cause division. Change starts with us.”