Black Lives Matters at School Week



Black Lives Matter (BLM) was founded in 2013 by three Black female activists, Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi. The murder of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman’s subsequent acquittal was their motivation to form BLM.

It has grown to become a global organization of networks (UK, Canada and USA), “whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. By combating and countering acts of violence, creating space for Black imagination and innovation, and centering Black joy, we are winning immediate improvements in our lives.” (


Unfortunately, BLM is a movement that has been misunderstood and mislabeled by many people in our nation. It is not solely focused on police brutality, nor are they advocates for “violent riots.” BLM’s scope of work is much larger in scope than what their critics claim.


More accurately, BLM is:

We are expansive. We are a collective of liberators who believe in an inclusive and spacious movement. We also believe that in order to win and bring as many people with us along the way, we must move beyond the narrow nationalism that is all too prevalent in Black communities. We must ensure we are building a movement that brings all of us to the front.

We affirm the lives of Black queer and trans folks, disabled folks, undocumented folks, folks with records, women, and all Black lives along the gender spectrum. Our network centers those who have been marginalized within Black liberation movements.

We are working for a world where Black lives are no longer systematically targeted for demise.

We affirm our humanity, our contributions to this society, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression. (

CLI believes that taking the time and energy to teach about this movement is an opportunity to have authentic dialogue with children about very important topics, such as justice, activism, reconciliation, Black Joy, etc. When people understand the lasting impacts of slavery and the continued use of systemic racist policy to preserve white supremacy, the work of BLM and similar organizations will be better understood and appreciated.

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BLM at School Week of Action

In 2016, Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action was born when educators, families and students in Seattle came to school wearing shirts recognizing and supporting the principles of BLM and “#SayHerName."

Soon after, news of this spread to other cities, such as Philadelphia and Rochester, New York. Since then the movement has continued to expand. Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action is grounded by four demands for school change:
  • End “zero tolerance” discipline, and implement restorative justice
  • Hire more black teachers
  • Mandate black history and ethnic studies in K-12 curriculum
  • Fund counselors not cops
BLM at School Week of Action is designed to celebrate and validate all aspects of Black people and culture, grow a healthy sense of self and to give students voice to recognize and ultimately act in the name of racial equity and justice. It accomplishes the above by focusing on BLM’s thirteen guiding principles which are taught throughout the week.






Restorative Justice, Empathy, & Loving Engagement

Diversity & Globalism

Trans-Affirming, Queer Affirming & Collective Value

Intergenerational, Black Families & Black Villages

Black Women & Unapologetically Black

CLI does not look at BLM’s guiding principles as separate from mainstream culture and history. They are very much part of Americana. To normalize this notion, educators will need to go beyond a week and integrate these topics throughout the curriculum and school year. To begin this journey, we recommend the following sources:

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