Student Voice stands in solidarity with communities across the country demanding justice for Black lives. We recognize that these actions are not only responses to the murders of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery and countless other Black lives but also confront the white supremacy and structural racism that America has been built on since its founding. America’s founding promise of liberty and justice for all has never been a reality for Black communities. Historic and present-day American systems, and American schools, fuel and reinforce systemic racism.
White supremacy manifests in our education systems through funding disparities, the school to prison pipeline, unsafe school climates for Black students and whitewashed history. Schools remain segregated and those serving majority Black student populations remain inequitably and inadequately funded and have disproportionately borne the burden of budget cuts during economic recessions. The school to prison pipeline targets Black students in a pervasive way, through the presence of armed School Resource Officers and zero-tolerance policies that disproportionately push Black students out of school and into incarceration. Unjust school climate for Black students is magnified by a lack of trauma-informed mental health support, cultural competency and anti-racist practices in individual school systems, structures and leadership.
Additionally, we acknowledge that school curriculums in the United States teach a whitewashed, revisionist version of history that ignores and erases the oppression, resistance and resilience of Black people, past and present. We are committed to supporting students in unlearning what they have been taught about the racist structures, institutions, and traditions in the United States and fighting for reform in school curriculums. These resources provide a place to start:
- Anti-racism for white people
- Open Yale Course: African American History: from Emancipation to Present
- Master list of #blacklivesmatter funds, protest info, education resources
- List of books on how to be anti-racist
- 26 Ways to be in the Struggle Beyond the Streets
- How Police Union Contracts Lessen Police Accountability
We stand in solidarity with youth-led organizations combating structural inequities that disadvantage Black students and elevate Black voices and leadership. Student Voice looks to the leadership of Teens Take Charge, Integrate NYC, Journey for Justice, the Baltimore Intersection Project and UrbED Advocates and ask you to support and amplify their work. We support Our Turn Minnesota’s call for Minneapolis Public Schools to end its contract with the Minneapolis Police Department and hope that other youth-led education organizations will examine white supremacy in the context of their own work and locations.
Student Voice will continue its commitment to being an anti-racist organization. Our Student Bill of Rights highlights the importance of Diversity & Inclusivity and guides our work to dismantle inequity and injustice in schools. Our team will release resource guides on the past and present of policing in schools and how schools fuel racism to steer educational responses to this moment. In the coming weeks, Student Voice team members will host events for Black students to find healing community and for allies to engage in information, conversation and action about schools and racial justice.
Student Voice has made contributions to The Youth Bail Fund and the Journey for Justice Alliance and will continue to raise funds to support Black student organizers. Student Voice is committed to ongoing reflection and action to meet our commitment to be an anti-racist organization in our internal work, through our engagement with young people across the country, in the policies and practices we advocate for and in the values we hold.
About Move School Forward
As we are inundated with calls for “reopening schools” and returning to normal, it is crucial that we demand a just future for our education system that includes students as full participants in the decision-making process, from the school to state levels. Where people are reimagining the future of schools, the voices of the most marginalized students are consistently sidelined. Our collective of youth-driven organizations has outlined key principles to move school forward. Read our demands.