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The Ames Community School District will engage in the Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action during the week of Feb. 1-5.

The program is a five-day guide to “expand student understanding of the Black Lives Matter at School Principles.”

The movement is a call to school across the nation to say and show that Black lives matter within the school walls and in the policies and practices that impact the lives and futures of black students.

“The Week of Action is a time set aside to affirm all black identities by centering black voices, empowering students and teaching about black experiences beyond slavery,” the district’s website says.

Not only is the week beneficial to black students, but the Ames’ website says it can be transformative for non-black students, “particularly white students.”

“Due in large part to school and residential segregation, white students often get a narrow view of blackness from their lived experiences,” the website says.

The Black Lives Matter Movement is guided by the following principles:

  1. Restorative Justice – We are committed to collectively, lovingly, and courageously working vigorously for freedom and justice for Black people and, by extension, all people. As we forge our path, we intentionally build and nurture a beloved community that is bonded together through a beautiful struggle that is restorative, not depleting.​
  2. Empathy – We are committed to practicing empathy; we engage comrades with the intent to learn about and connect with their contexts.
  3. Loving Engagement – We are committed to embodying and practicing justice, liberation, and peace in our engagements with one another.
  4. Diversity – We are committed to acknowledging, respecting, and celebrating difference(s) and commonalities.
  5. Globalism – We see ourselves as part of the global Black family and we are aware of the different ways we are impacted or privileged as Black folk who exist in different parts of the world.​
  6. Queer Affirming – We are committed to fostering a queer‐affirming network. When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking or, rather, the belief that all in the world are heterosexual unless s/he or they disclose otherwise.
  7. Trans Affirming – We are committed to embracing and making space for trans siblings to participate and lead. We are committed to being self-reflexive and doing the work required to dismantle cis-gender privilege and uplift Black trans folk, especially Black trans women who continue to be disproportionately impacted by trans-antagonistic violence.
  8. Collective Value – We are guided by the fact all Black lives matter, regardless of actual or perceived sexual identity, gender identity, gender expression, economic status, ability, disability, religious beliefs or disbeliefs, immigration status, or location.
  9. Intergenerational – We are committed to fostering an intergenerational and communal network free from ageism. We believe that all people, regardless of age, show up with the capacity to lead and learn.
  10. Black Families – We are committed to making our spaces family-friendly and enable parents to fully participate with their children. We are committed to dismantling the patriarchal practice that requires mothers to work “double shifts” that require them to mother in private even as they participate in justice work.
  11. Black Villages – We are committed to disrupting the Western prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, and especially “our” children to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.
  12. Unapologetically Black – We are unapologetically Black in our positioning. In affirming that Black Lives Matter, we need not qualify our position. To love and desire freedom and justice for ourselves is a necessary prerequisite for wanting the same for others.​
  13. Black Women – ​We are committed to building a Black women affirming space free from sexism, misogyny, and male‐centeredness.

Author: Jacob Hall