Post Freddie Gray Protest Lessons

Today was a beautiful day. Do not let anyone tell you anything different. I woke up at 6:00 AM and the birds were chirping. The sky was completely blue. I read the a few scriptures and fell back to sleep. By 7AM, I was reawakened by the sound of helicopters. I wasnt surprised.

A little after 9, we were out of the house, heading to school to meet up with our teachers to plan an assembly for our students and think of some ideas on how to help our students cope with everything that has been going on. The meeting went well. There we were 20 teachers, on our day off, in school - creating things for our children, making sure that they will have a place that will make feel loved and safe tomorrow, and everyday after, of course. 

I went to the rally at Cloverdale and it was all love. There were so many beautiful Black kings, queens, and children and everyone was laughing and having a good old time. Felt like a summer block party. All of the black fraternities were there, ministers, old folks were on the grill, and so many of my former students from the Freedom school. They are old enough to drink now! It's scary. Truth be told, only thing I didnt see was the news.. No CNN or nothing. I passed a few clean up crews around the city today ... Saw some men boarding up the save-a-lot over by mica. Those national guard trucks were as conspicuous as the zebras that people are posting on Instagram, as if to say that zoo animals are running wildly throughout our streets. But today, none of the nonsense that has been perpetuating throughout social networks mattered. It was all about repairing, rebuilding, and reminding one another that we do matter and we are loved.  

I had my phd leveled course tonight and when I arrived, of course, the protest and how things are going to affect our students was the number one topic. I actually stumbled upon a video of some kids looting in Security Mall but I wasnt touched by it at all. Theres a hunger in this city that has gone unfed since the King riots of the 60s. On the news, they keep saying the national guard and the police are here to restore order but they were the ones who put us in this predicament in the first place. Why are those officers still on paid leave? And what about that boy that was shot 10 times in his own home in Detroit yesterday?

I can't tell you when this will ever end but I promise you, this entire ordeal is not in vain. New leaders are emerging from this. Please make no mistake. Sometimes we have to get beat over the head to understand how serious something is. I have been teaching for 7 years in Baltimore and the one thing that always bothered me is the lack of cultural awareness amongst my students. There was a time when my students thought that Martin Luther King fought to free the slaves. Much of history is just history to them and because of that, they have no sense of their royalty - no true understanding of who they are as people of color. Last night's protest was needed, in some weird way, to show the youth that this "historical" battle is not over. They have to be the ones to pick up the torch and fight. I'm not talking about being violent. In my class, I am teaching them how to fight with the most powerful weapons in the world - their minds. 

The conversations in my post graduate course were interesting, though. The one thing that I gathered was that there are many teachers who dont have any idea how to even begin to talk with their students about these issues. My advice is, dont talk to them about it. Instead, give them the literature and let them grapple and find their own interpretation. Let them come to their own conclusions. 

Anyways, I am not even going to proofread this post right now - so I apologize for any typos in advance. I just needed to get this up so that I could post the plans for my fellow educators. 

I have posted a link to the lesson plans that I have created for my students' return to school tomorrow. Once you click the link, you will need to ask for permission to view the document (its in google drive). I hope it helps you... If anyone has any suggestions for text, videos, or activities, please let me know. 

Goodnight & be safe,