This story is part of “All Those ‘Racial Reckoning’ Promises” Word In Black’s series exploring the pledges made to the Black community following the Summer of George Floyd and what organizations and leaders can still do now to promote racial equity and justice.

It was a viral video that changed the world: The nearly 10-minute-long clip of the murder of George Floyd. But what’s sometimes forgotten is that a high school student, 17-year-old Darnella Frazier, filmed the video.  

And the impact of Floyd’s murder on public education is undeniable. It catalyzed a course-changing wave of student-led protests, calls to defund school police, and even requests to revisit and revise how race is taught in the classroom. 

This nationwide reckoning underlined an urgent need to confront racism, fostering a candid dialogue about the history of oppression faced by Black Americans.

Since then, toolkits, like teaching material on how to teach about the George Floyd murder trial,  mental health resources, and new curricula have emerged as ways to foster productive conversations with students about race and the civil disobedience surrounding it. Some districts — some more than others — attempted to change. Here is what some folks did across the nation. 

The Educator Approach 

Tyrone Howard, a professor of education at the University of California and president of the American Educational Research Association, looks at research, advocacy, and policy tied to the educational landscape. 

In the wake of the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, Howard wrote, How to Root Out Anti-Racism From Your School, to directly speak on the role public education spaces need to play to address racism. 

“School districts have to start to do their own inventory analysis,” Howard says. “I think schools sometimes have no idea about the kinds of patterns and practices that consistently eliminate and leave Black students on the sidelines.” 

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Aziah Siid

Word in Black!

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