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Making Black Lives Matter: From the Streets to the Classroom

A conversation about making Black lives matter in our schools and beyond as part of this year's Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action.

In her foreword to Black Lives Matter at School: An Uprising for Educational Justice Opal Tometi writes: "Both within classrooms and outside the school grounds, Black lives are under threat. The events that led to the creation of Black Lives Matter—the murder in 2012 of Trayvon Martin and the acquittal of his killer—weren’t isolated events. The culture of endangering Black lives is something students know well from inside their very own classrooms. . . Young people deserve safe, affirming environments where they know without a shadow of a doubt that their lives matter. The work that supporters of Black Lives Matter at School are doing is making this happen."



Opal Tometi is an award-winning human rights defender and one of three women co-founders of #BlackLivesMatter. Born to Nigerian Immigrant parents in the USA, her human rights activism crosses borders and extends almost 20 years. Tometi recently graced the #TIME100 Most Influential people of the year 2020 and March 2020 cover for #TIMES100 Most Influential Women of The Last Century. She is the founder of the new media and advocacy hub, Diaspora Rising and is a trusted advisor to various transnational organizations.

Denisha Jones is a member of the national Black Lives Matter at School steering committee and Director of the Art of Teaching, graduate teacher education program, at Sarah Lawrence College. She is the co-editor of Black Lives Matter at School.

Jesse Hagopian is a member of the national Black Lives Matter at School steering committee and teaches Ethnic Studies at Seattle’s Garfield High School. He is the co-editor of Black Lives Matter at School, an editor for Rethinking Schools magazine and is a co-editor of Teaching for Black Lives.

Marshé Doss was born and raised in South Los Angeles.She is a recent graduate from Dorsey High School in South Los Angeles. Marshé is an organizer and leaderin the student-led movement Students Deserve. She leads the Making Black Lives Matter in Schools effortin LA, which tackles the school-to-prison pipeline and over-policing of schools in Black communities. She is a nationally recognized speaker, organizer, and activist, known for direct actions and addressing crowds of over fifty thousand people. She can be reached on Instagram at @its.marshe.

Brian Jones (moderator) is the Associate Director of Education at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. He writes about black education history and politics.