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Anthony Jones, the director of equity for Ames schools, provided a presentation on the upcoming Black Lives Matter Week of Action that will take place in the Ames Community School District Feb. 1-5.

Jones started out the presentation praising an Alabama football player. Then he transitioned to talking about when Harrison Barnes announced what college he was planning to attend. Jones pointed to that moment as a time when the Ames community rallied around “one of their own.”

He rightly pointed out that students shouldn’t have to participate in sports and be a successful athlete to receive support from school.

He said black students come from all walks of life.

He highlighted an anti-LGBTQ protest that took place near Ames High School last year. In response, students rallied around “certain groups” of students.

Jones also highlighted the popularity of anti-racism books after George Floyd’s death. That told him there was a desire to learn how to interact with those who are different.

He noted that in Ames the black suicide rate was rising faster than for whites – blaming COVID-19 and police violence for deepening the trauma.

“What we wanted to do as a district, we wanted to be intentional about expressing our care and recognizing and affirming our black students in our district,” he said.

He also said that it’s appropriate to celebrate “black joy” and “black success” at the beginning of February – which is Black History Month.

“We are not trying to change students and families, we are not trying to fix them,” Jones said. “But we are attempting to dismantle, to fix and reimagine our current school environment.”

Author: Jacob Hall