More than half a century ago, the landscape of education in the United States was transformed by an audacious group known as the Little Rock Nine. These nine brave African American students challenged the status quo by integrating the racially segregated Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas. Today, their legacy continues as they stand up for the rights of students to learn comprehensive African American history.
The Legacy of the Little Rock Nine
In 1957, the courageous act of the Little Rock Nine not only disrupted segregation but also paved the way for the integration of academic settings across the country. Even in the face of adversity and discrimination, they persevered to receive the education they deserved. Their actions sparked a nationwide movement that eventually led to the desegregation of all public schools in the United States.
The Current Education Climate in Arkansas
Fast forward to the present day, the surviving members of the Little Rock Nine continue to advocate for education and social justice. However, their fight has taken on a new form. The current focus is on the state’s legislative efforts that potentially discourage students from enrolling in Advanced Placement (AP) African American Studies.
AP African American Studies under Threat
Recently, the Arkansas Department of Education made a controversial announcement that could disrupt the study of African American history in schools. They declared that students might not earn the required credit for graduation from the AP African American Studies course. Moreover, the department stated that they did not plan to cover the $100 end-of-course exam fee.
The LEARNS Act and its Implications
This shocking decision is largely attributed to Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ LEARNS Act. This legislation aims to “sanitize” the curriculum of critical race theory and other teachings perceived as discriminatory based on race, ethnicity, sex, and other categories. It raises the question of whether the government is attempting to censor history and limit the education of future generations.
The Arkansas Department of Education defended their position, stating that they encourage the teaching of all American history and support rigorous courses not based on opinions or indoctrination. But the surviving members of the Little Rock Nine see the decision as an attempt to erase history.
The Voices of the Little Rock Nine
Elizabeth Eckford, one of the original nine who integrated Central High, expressed her concern over this decision. She stated that this move seemed to be serving the interests of the Republican Party, as it resonated with their supporters. Her fellow member, Terrence Roberts, echoed her sentiments, questioning whether these voices of dissent would indeed be successful in pushing back against the decision.
The Reaction from the NAACP
The state chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) didn’t hold back in expressing their disapproval. They criticized the decision as an attack on civil rights and the progress of students of color in Arkansas. They stated that dismissing AP African American Studies is not only a failure to provide equitable education but also shows a clear disdain for the experiences that form part of our history.
The Power of Solidarity
Despite the discouraging circumstances, there’s a silver lining. According to the Arkansas Times, at least six schools in the Little Rock School District have committed to continue offering the college-level course. This act of solidarity shows that the spirit of the Little Rock Nine lives on, inspiring educators and students to stand up for African American Studies and social justice.
The Fight Continues
The surviving members of the Little Rock Nine, along with their supporters, will continue to fight for the inclusion of comprehensive African American history in the curriculum. They understand that African American history is not separate from American history. It is a vital part of the country’s narrative and should be taught as such.
The battle for educational equity and social justice is far from over. The Little Rock Nine have shown us that change is possible, and it’s up to us to continue their legacy and stand up for what’s right.
From the integration of Little Rock Central High School in 1957 to advocating for AP African American Studies in Arkansas today, the Little Rock Nine remain stalwarts in the fight for educational equity. Their legacy serves as a reminder that education should encompass all aspects of history, including those that some may find uncomfortable. As we look to the future, let’s remember the courage of the Little Rock Nine and continue the fight for comprehensive and inclusive education.
Barack Obama poured in congratulatory messages for LeBron James after the win in NBA championship and lauded him for his contributions for the country. “Proud of my friend @KingJames for his fourth title, fourth Finals MVP,
A bakery in San Francisco, known for its delightful street food, is making headlines. But not for its scrumptious pastries or mouth-watering cakes. The bakery, Reem’s California, has stirred up a storm with its unique policy: a refusal to serve police officers.
The Tweet that Sparked Controversy
A tweet from the San Francisco Police Officers Association (SPOA) spokesperson relayed the surprising incident. An officer in uniform was denied service at Reem’s. The tweet blasted out the bakery’s policy, “NO COPS ALLOWED.”
“NO COPS ALLOWED. That’s the confirmed policy of the bakery chain Reem’s. One of our officers was denied service last weekend because he was in uniform. Reem’s confirms that they will not serve anyone armed and in uniform. Presumably, this includes members of the U.S. Military.”
Reem’s California: The Stand for Social and Racial Justice
Reem’s is not just any ordinary bakery. It’s a local Arab company deeply committed to uplifting social and racial justice. In a statement to the San Francisco Gate, a spokesperson from Reem’s elucidated the company’s stand.
“This includes fostering an environment of safety for our staff and customers,” it continued. “In a time of increased gun violence — particularly impacting people of color, youth, and queer people — we believe that maintaining a strict policy of prohibiting guns in our restaurant keeps us safer.”
The policy, as per the company’s perspective, is a tool to protect its community from the escalating gun violence.
The Impact of Gun Violence
The San Francisco based company added that many in their community have been direct or indirect victims of gun violence. Whether it’s the streets of San Francisco or Oakland or the broader repercussions of war and political extremism, the impact is palpable.
The victims are often marginalized people – the black and brown population, the poor, and the vulnerable. At Reem’s, the aim is to create a safe and welcoming space. A place where the community can savor delicious Arab food and work together to strengthen their bonds.
A Call to the Community
Reem’s invites its community to join them in fostering a culture of care and resilience. It’s a call to step up, to stand together, and to build a community free from fear of violence or harassment.
The SPOA, on the other hand, has requested Reem’s and any other business with similar policies to display their stance openly. This way, the officers would know where not to spend their money, on or off duty.
The Deeper Implications
This incident throws light on the broader issues of social justice and racial justice that persist in our society. It’s a reflection of the deep-seated prejudices, fears, and divisions that continue to plague us.
But above all, it’s a call to action. It’s a reminder that every individual, every business, and every institution has a role to play in shaping a just and equitable society.
In the heart of San Francisco, a bakery is making a stand. It’s not about pastries or cakes, but about social and racial justice. It’s about creating an environment of safety and acceptance. It’s about standing up against gun violence. It’s about fostering a culture of care and resilience.
Perhaps it’s time we all take a moment to reflect on what we can do to contribute to this change. Because, in the end, every action counts.
Photo by Sirisvisual on Unsplash
In a bold move against the Los Angeles Police Department, a prominent Black filmmaker is breaking his silence and taking legal action following a disturbing incident involving law enforcement officers. Damien Smith, an acclaimed documentary filmmaker, is shedding light on an encounter with the police in 2021 that left him deeply affected and compelled to pursue justice.
Speaking exclusively with the LA Times, Damien Smith shared his harrowing experience, which he believes was tainted by racial bias. The incident occurred on a fateful day in October 2021 when Smith returned to his apartment only to find an intruder unlawfully holding his belongings. Despite the seriousness of the situation, Smith chose to call 911, believing that justice and safety would be upheld.
However, what followed was an unexpected and distressing turn of events. When the police arrived at the scene, instead of apprehending the intruder, they subjected Smith to multiple taser shocks, leaving him in shock and disbelief. As a filmmaker actively working on a project addressing police brutality, Smith couldn’t help but wonder if there was a racial component to the way he was treated by law enforcement.
Once the officers confirmed Smith’s residency, they promptly released him, but no apologies were offered for the unjust use of force. Meanwhile, the intruder, Demani Coats, was later arrested and convicted of burglary in July 2022, raising further questions about the disproportionate actions taken against Smith.
In response to this traumatic incident and the subsequent lack of accountability, Damien Smith made the difficult decision to file a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Police Department. The lawsuit reflects the physical and emotional toll the encounter had on him, citing injuries to his chest, back, and nervous system, as well as the immense embarrassment and public ridicule he endured.
The allegations against the department are serious, encompassing charges of false arrest, assault, battery, intentional infliction of mental distress, and violation of civil rights. Smith is determined to hold the police accountable for their actions and highlight the urgent need for proper training to prevent similar incidents from happening to others.
For Damien Smith, this lawsuit is not just about seeking compensation or retribution; it is a plea for justice and an urgent call for change. As a filmmaker who has devoted his career to shedding light on social injustices, he now finds himself at the center of the very narrative he has been capturing on film. His courage to speak out against the injustice he experienced is inspiring a broader conversation about the need for comprehensive reform within law enforcement agencies.
The story of Damien Smith resonates deeply with the broader social justice movement, drawing attention to the ongoing struggle for racial equity and accountability in policing. His unwavering commitment to seeking justice serves as a rallying point for those advocating for change and a reminder that there is still much work to be done to achieve a more just and equitable society.
Photo by Jared Rice on Unsplash
A weekend meant to celebrate freedom and equality turned into a harrowing experience for an Ohio couple, Lamar Richards and his boyfriend. Their visit to a Bed, Bath & Beyond store during a closing sale took a distressing turn when they were unjustly accused of shoplifting. In a display of resilience, they shared a video on Twitter capturing the incident, shedding light on the enduring struggle against racial bias and the urgent need for change.
The Juneteenth weekend took an unexpected and distressing turn for an Ohio couple, whose encounter at a Toledo Bed, Bath & Beyond store has ignited a firestorm of outrage. Lamar Richards and his boyfriend found themselves at the center of an unjust accusation of shoplifting, leading to the dispatch of law enforcement. A video documenting the incident, shared on Twitter, serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing battle against racial bias and the fight for justice.
What should have been a joyous celebration of Juneteenth turned into an ordeal of humiliation and potential legal action for Lamar Richards and his boyfriend. Summarizing their experience, we capture the profound impact of the incident on their lives and highlight the stark contrast between the expectations of a celebratory weekend and the reality they faced at the Bed, Bath & Beyond store.
Through the viral video shared on Twitter, Richards and his boyfriend shed light on the systemic racial bias that continues to persist in society. Their courageous act of exposing the unjust accusation serves as a rallying cry for accountability and an end to racial profiling. The incident at Bed, Bath & Beyond stands as a potent reminder of the urgent need for change in our collective mindset and the systems that perpetuate discrimination.
By amplifying the Ohio couple story, we amplify their voices and the voices of countless individuals who have faced similar experiences. Social media gives us the opportunity to unite, fight bias, and seek justice. We want to create empathy and understanding by rewording their experiences. This way, we can build a sense of solidarity and encourage others to speak out against racial injustice. The incident at Bed, Bath & Beyond serves as a turning point, highlighting the need for tangible actions to combat racial bias. We want to highlight the importance of creating policies and training that deal with **implicit bias**, which is a negative attitude or prejudice that we are not aware of but that affects how we treat people of different races or ethnicities. We believe that only by working together can we build a society that respects and values everyone, no matter their background or identity.
Lamar Richards and his boyfriend’s experience at Bed, Bath & Beyond sheds light on the persistence of racial bias and the urgent need for change. Their courageous act of sharing the incident on social media sparks outrage and calls for accountability. As we confront this distressing reality, let us unite in demanding justice and equality for all, creating a society where incidents like these become relics of the past, and where every individual can shop, live, and thrive without fear of discrimination.