I am extremely fortunate.
I learned everything I needed to know about being a Black person in this country from my Mom. She was very candid with me from a young age about what it meant to be Black. She told me about all of the racism she faced growing up. She talked to me about why as a Black person it was imperative to get a good education and how I would always have to work harder to get the same opportunities as white people.
Mom made sure I knew my Black history and my family history, as much as she knew. She inspired me to learn more about our history by sharing that she participated in the March on Washington. She told me that she took me to meet Malcolm X as a baby when we lived in Harlem, and that he commented on my flaming red hair. And that is where it all emanates from. My love of my Blackness. My love of Black history. My interest in our family history.
That is how I ended up in junior high school having the audacity to tell my English teacher that I would not be reading any of the books on the school’s summer reading list, and instead I would be reading the Autobiography of Malcolm X, because my Mama said I met him and he liked my red hair. I was like if you don’t know, you better get the cliff notes, because somebody has to grade my book report.
Mom was a teacher who dedicated her life to the education and uplift of Black children. She was a fierce and tireless advocate for Black children. She was an educational justice warrior. She loved and cared for her Black students like they were her own children. Education was her number #1 priority. She understood the value of a good education, because of what getting one meant to her ability to survive independently and support her family as a single parent. In every way that she could be, she was my first Black teacher. She is the reason why I do what I do.
Black children growing up today may not have a close relative who was alive during the era of the Civil Rights Movement, who shared first hand and passed down accounts of our history. They didn’t grow up watching the Roots mini-series or reading the book, which motivated so many Black children like me to want to find out everything we could about where we came from. And that is unfortunate, because Black children growing up today are not learning any more about Black history in school than I did, and I graduated from high school over three decades ago. To make matters worse, the little bit they are learning has been totally whitewashed.
This situation is unacceptable and must change now.
So in loving memory of my Mom, Grace Emma, I will be doing everything that I can to serve as an advocate and build upon her legacy of educating and uplifting Black children.
Please join us as we fight to change the way Black history is taught in our schools.
Please read our article to educate yourself on this situation and sign our petition to force the federal government to take action and fix this s***.
Then get everybody you know to sign our petition.
Then take the fight to streets at the local and state levels and hold the people responsible for the education of children where you live accountable.
Loreen Dyanne (aka RedFunkBaby)