Two thousand Seattle-area teachers wore shirts declaring "Black Lives Matter" to school today. The action was in response to bomb threats that almost derailed a black student empowerment event at John Muir elementary school last month.
Some educators also taught about institutional racism, according to Garfield High School teacher and organizer Jesse Hagopian. (Go read his FAQ if you still think All Lives Matter, or you're confused about why this is happening.)
The action has been endorsed by the Seattle Educators Association, Mayor Ed Murray, and King County's Equity and Social Justice Inter-Branch Team.
At the national level, former MSNBC host Melissa-Harris Perry, Olympic medalist John Carlos, and Black Lives Matter co-founder Opal Tometi are publicly backing the teachers.
So is Seahawks linesman Michael Bennett—the best Seahawk. He was scheduled to appear at a celebratory rally Friday.
Teachers at Garfield High, Sanislo Elementary, Louisa Boren STEM K-8, Chief Sealth, and Denny International Middle School all participated.
“Teachers have a First Amendment right to wear their speech,” the Seattle school district said in a statement. "We respect our teachers’ rights and desire to express themselves. We hope the message inspires people to do the work to eliminate opportunity gaps."
Those gaps include the following: According to the mayor's office, ninety percent of white third graders meet math and reading standards, compared with about half of black students. One quarter of African American and Latino students don't graduate on time, compared to eight percent of white students. And black students are suspended at four times the rate of white students. Among the country's largest 200 school districts, Seattle has the fifth-widest achievement gap between white and black students, the mayor said today.
Thank you, teachers! We got work to do.
#Seattle teachers hope their cause isn’t lost amid noise over Black Lives Matter shirts: https://t.co/ju98aT9KH4 #BlackLivesMatterAtSchool pic.twitter.com/SjEvHCQa6l
— The Seattle Times (@seattletimes) October 19, 2016
How do you address race w/ young kids? Get strategies & book ideas from @teachingchange #BlackLivesMatterAtSchool https://t.co/bZ5Qr4eGuN pic.twitter.com/A34wliCryC
— Seattle Library (@SPLBuzz) October 19, 2016
King County's Equity & Social Justice Inter-Branch Team stands in solidarity with @seapubschools and #closethegaps. Let's close the gaps! pic.twitter.com/hmOQufTmWP
— KC Public Defense (@KCPublicDefense) October 19, 2016