Education remains one of the Black community’s most enduring values. It is sustained by the belief that freedom and education go hand in hand, that learning, and training are essential to economic quality and independence.
~ Marian Wright Edelman
On Thursday, September 9, 2021, The Center for Black Educators Development will push a youth-led call to action titled “We Need Black Teachers.” We need Black teachers in schools more than ever. Black teachers bring so much more to schools and classrooms beyond just what they can teach. They bring representation, they bring hope, and they bring opportunity. Black teachers benefit all children, not just Black children. Black teachers benefit the entire educational system. However, since the integration of schools, the number of Black teachers has decreased. This has many asking:
Where are all the Black teachers?
Will all the Black teachers please stand up? I know they are out there. Maybe what we really need to ask is: What are we doing to elevate their voices? When people talk about not being able to find Black teachers, I laugh because I know plenty of Black teachers. Do we need more Black teachers? We do, but we cannot say there aren’t any available. We need to provide them more of a space to be seen. We need to celebrate them more and offer them opportunities where they can be successful.
I have been in education for about 10 years. I wanted to be a teacher since I was 17 years old. And becoming an educator is one of the most significant accomplishments of my life. I have dedicated my entire adult life and my career to the advancement of education.
I am inspired by those that came before me like Marva Collins and her work at Westside Preparatory School in Chicago, Geoffrey Canada and his cradle-to-the-stage commitment at the Harlem Children’s Zone in New York, and Rita Pierson and her challenge to be champions for children. These phenomenal Black educators are just a few who ran their race.
I am here doing the work that so many did before me. I am running my leg of the race.
To the Black teachers out there, I challenge you to stand up and speak out. Show the education system that we are out here, and we are ready for the challenge. Many of you are in schools and situations where you feel as though you can’t shine your brightest. If that is the case, leave and find a place that will let you shine. You do not have to stay somewhere that does not value you. Do not stay at a place that does not challenge you. Do not stay at a place that does not allow you to be who you are. Do not stay at a place that does not allow you to share and teach the truth about Black people.
On September 9, I am joining the Center for Black Educators Development and calling on Black teachers. Be loud and proud and stand up. We need you. We need all of you. It is our time to take back the education system.
The system is failing the majority of Black children in this country. We are the Joshua generation. We can enjoy the fruits of the hard labor of those educators before us. But it will be up to us to improve the outcomes. We talk about making our ancestors proud; well, this is our opportunity.
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