In the News

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February 21st, 2018

CEJ and Allies Take City Hall!

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CEJ made their demands for NYC schools to adopt Culturally Responsive Education loud and clear at a rally at City Hall on February 6th. In the wake of a racist slavery lesson at a Bronx middle school, parents, students, elected officials, and education equity advocates alike came together to let the Mayor’s office and the Department of Education know that our communities will not let this disgraceful incident get swept under the rug. Over 50 people entered City Hall, singing and chanting, until their voices were heard and Natasha Capers, CEJ coordinator, met with the Mayor’s chief of staff to discuss CEJ’s demands.

Since last March, CEJ and allies have been fighting for the Mayor to make Culturally Responsive Education a key part of his education agenda. This includes implement a curriculum that teaches historical truths and expanding anti-bias trainings to thousands of teachers, administrators, and school staff. Unfortunately, only one half of one percent of NYC’s teaching force are participating in this type of cultural competency training. The Mayor must be held accountable for the dehumanizing actions against students of color by school staff. Our voices will be heard.

Listen here to Coalition for Educational Justice Coordinator, Natasha Capers address the need for cultural competency training  for school staff on WNYC’s All Things Considered.                          “We actually need to tell the truth when we’re teaching history even when it makes our country, our city, look bad…especially when we’re uncomfortable with the truth.” – Natasha Capers

Click below to watch CEJ and allies in action!

Sign our petition here to demand the Mayor take action against racism and bias in NYC schools!

Click here for more press coverage on CEJ’s actions!

February 20th, 2018

A Busy Week, CEJ Continues to Fight for Racial Justice in the Classroom

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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”.

Click here to read CEJ’s message to City Hall in response to these events.

Click here for more press coverage on CEJ’s actions!

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February 10th, 2018

CEJ and Allies Demand that the Mayor Expand Cultural Competency Trainings for School Staff

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Listen here to Coalition for Educational Justice Coordinator, Natasha Capers address the need for cultural competency training  for school staff on WNYC’s All Things Considered.

In addressing how Black history is taught in school curriculum, Natasha Capers said,

“…One of the major things, it starts off with talking about Black history, Black people, at slavery. So it doesn’t actually start with kingdoms, it doesn’t start with the place, it doesn’t start with humanizing African people… If you want someone to identify with someone else, that takes empathy. You start by learning about that continent, their people, their traditions, their languages.”

“Advocates: Four Traits We Want in NYC’s Next Schools Chief – and Four Candidates We Don’t Want” – Chalkbeat

“Chancellor Search: Hearing From the Advocates” – Inside City Hall

“NYC Needs Culturally Responsive Education” – Natasha Capers

“Time for the Mayor to Lead on Culturally Responsive Education” – Natasha Capers,  Amsterdam News

“Racist Slavery Lesson at Bronx School Ignites Fiery Protest” – New York Daily News

“Parents Rally after Bronx Teacher Allegedly Stepped on Students for Slavery Lesson” – News 12

“Parents Group Responds to Racist Slavery Lesson in Bronx School” – Amsterdam News

“Angry Parents Call for Anti-Bias Training in Schools after Bronx Teacher’s Slavery Lesson” – Pix11

“New York City Teachers Bring Black Lives Matter to the Classroom” – Chalkbeat

“Bronx Principal Faces Protests After Reportedly Barring Black History Lessons” – The Grio

“Principal Ignites Protests for Barring Black History Lessons” – New York Daily News

“Protesters Demand Removal of Principal Over Black History Scandal” – New York Daily News

“Let’s Talk About How You Should Teach Slavery” – Amsterdam News

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October 15th, 2017

Indigenous People’s Day Rally to advocate for Culturally Responsive Education!

CEJ Indigenous Peoples Day 10-9 (21)

On October 9th, CEJ held a teach-in and rally to honor Indigenous People’s Day. Over 100 parents, students and community members gathered to learn about indigenous traditions in the Americas, denounce the celebration of Columbus Day, and call on Mayor de Blasio to expand Culturally Responsive Education in NYC schools.  The danza group Cetiliztli Nauhcampa performed, and parents and students spoke about the need for anti-bias training for school staff, multicultural curriculum and courses that respect and reflect the backgrounds and experiences of all NYC students. Speakers emphasized that the fact that NYC students are still celebrating murder, rape and genocide through Columbus Day – while many other cities have embraced Indigenous People’s Day - is a disgrace. CEJ will continue to push the Mayor and the NYC Department of Education to lead the nation in #Education4Liberation.

October 15th, 2017

Indigenous People’s Day Rally

CEJ Indigenous Peoples Day 10-9 (24)

CEJ’s Indigenous People’s Day teach-in and rally on October 9th was covered by various city news organizations because of its strong attendance, diverse perspectives and unified mission. Over 100 parents, students and community members gathered to learn about indigenous traditions in the Americas, denounce the celebration of Columbus Day, and call on Mayor de Blasio to expand Culturally Responsive Education in NYC schools. The event, and additional protests throughout the city, sparked crucial dialogue about inaccurate historical narrative and students’ cultural identity. To read news coverage, click on the links below:

“Columbus Day Parade Marches on Amid Controversy, Rain”, NBC New York: “A movement to abolish Columbus Day and replace it with Indigenous Peoples Day has gained momentum in some parts of the U.S. Critics of Columbus say he was a ruthless explorer who treated indigenous people abhorrently.” 

“Indigenous Peoples Day? Italians say stick with Columbus”, Fox 5 News, New York: “Indigenous Peoples Day began to gel as an idea before the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ first voyage to the Americas. South Dakota began celebrating Native American Day on the second Monday of October in 1990. Berkeley, California, got rid of Columbus Day in favor of Indigenous Peoples Day in 1992.”

“Protesters demand ‘accurate’ Columbus school curriculum”, New York Post: “This isn’t just about changing the name of a holiday or the removal of a document . . . During the past school year, young people have been exposed to hate in ways most have never experienced before. It is more important than ever that our students are learning accurate versions of history and are exposed to diverse cultures and perspectives.”

“Padres afirman que no los involucran en lucha contra el ‘bullying’ (Parents say they are not able to be involved in the fight against ‘bullying’)”, El Diario New York: “A mi hija le hicieron ‘bullying’ acá en esta escuela y se tomaron varios días antes de que tomaran acciones . . . Debería haber programas más efectivos y hacerle seguimiento y entender que las cosas pequeñas van creciendo y pueden terminar en tragedias”. (“My daughter was bullied here at this school and they took several days before they took action . . . There should be more effective programs and follow up and understand that small things are growing and can end in tragedies.”)

 

 

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