After a slew of disturbing instances of racism in NYC public schools surrounding Black History Month, CEJ has kept busy with a series of actions demanding that the Mayor be held accountable and implement anti-bias training.
After the news broke of a racist and traumatizing lesson on slavery where a white teacher had Black students lie on the floor and stepped on one student’s back, the Mayor claimed it to be an isolated incident. Other stories of racism in schools coming to light refute that, affirming that there is a systematic problem in the way NYC schools address cultural diversity and receptiveness.
Most recently, CEJ was at MS 244 in the Bronx protesting against the principal, a white woman, for barring teachers from giving Black History Lessons.
“We will be at….224 to show support for those parents to show that this is clearly a systemic issue…The Mayor said that what happened at…118 is an isolated event, but what happened at…224 proves otherwise.” – Natasha Capers
While protesting at 224, another story broke where PTA members of a Brooklyn public school, all of whom are white, used pictures of people in blackface to promote their PTA fundraising event. Members of the community are calling for the head of the PTA to step down.
Not only are NYC schools denying students’ right to learn about their own history, they are also prohibiting students from expressing their cultural identities and the realities of being a youth of color in 2018.
At a Catholic school in Queens, white administration denied 17-year-old Malcolm Xavier Combs from having the name “Malcolm X”, the student’s first name and middle initial, from being printed on the back of his senior sweater. After an outcry from students, parents, and members of the the civil rights organization National Action Network, the high school’s administration still won’t allow Malcolm Xavier Combs to have his own name on his graduation sweater because the school wouldn’t want to be associated with anyone “controversial”.