This afternoon we need to reflect. I want you to remember our values in school with the ethos of our philosophy lessons in particular, and especially the ways in which you make us proud as open-minded and reflective young people. I want you to remember what we have learned about Ruby Bridges, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Mary Seacole, about Maya Angelou's poems that we have explored in Reading Mastery, and keep all of what you know in your brain whilst you reflect today. All of the work you will be doing this afternoon involves reading, listening and thinking but it is some of the most important work that you can do.
Many of you use, or at least access, social media. As we know, and have explored and discussed together many times, the power of social media is huge: sometimes good and sometimes bad. Yesterday (Tuesday 2nd June) many of you will have seen people post black squares on instagram, or heard reports on TV and the radio as a part of the #BlackoutTuesday movement.
You might (or might not) know that it is linked to the #BlackLivesMatter initiative, but either way you probably have questions and uncertainties. For many of us, it can be a difficult topic to discuss but if we stay quiet, we risk allowing the problems to carry on. Radio stations, TV channels and people on social media are joining in the movement. Blackout Tuesday is a day of reflection and protest in the aftermath of George Floyd's death. Read about this in the newsround article here:
There have been peaceful demonstrations about the issue all around the world, including London, Rio de Janeiro, Berlin and Auckland.
The world of sport has also spoken out about what's happened.
Players from Premier League teams such as Newcastle, Liverpool and Chelsea have all knelt in protest - a gesture made famous by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick as a protest against racial injustice and police brutality.
What does racism mean?
Listen to this book :
What were the main ideas in the book? Which bits stood out for you?
The bit that stands out the most for me is 'not just in big ways, sometimes in small ways, sometimes in ways that are almost invisible.' It made me stop and think about what it means for something to be "almost invisible"; times when maybe somebody has seen something in a different way to me, and why that might be.
'Where is the love?' by The Black Eyed Peas
Listen to the song using the video below. (This song was more recently used with Ariane Grande at the One Love Manchester concert).
Whilst listening to the song the first time I want you to read along the lyrics (below).
Then listen again.
1. Draw a picture or doodle of the song. You can draw anything. How does it make you feel? What does it make you think of? You might want to add labels to this.
2. Give the song a new title. We know that this song is called 'Where is the love?' but if you had to rename it what else could it be called? Why?
3. Write a few sentences about the song. What else does it link to? How? If you find it easier to work on a sheet there is a 'Song Analysis' sheet also linked below.
One of the most common responses to "Black Lives Matter" is "all lives matter." But that response misses the point, as this great cartoon from Kris Straub at Chainsawsuit demonstrates:
Think: What is the message of the cartoon? How does this link to Black Lives Matter ?
The point of Black Lives Matter isn't to suggest that black lives should be or are more important than all other lives, but instead that black people's lives are relatively undervalued and the world needs to recognize that inequity to bring an end to it.
Straub's cartoon echoes this point: If a house is burning down, you're obviously going to focus on putting out the fire instead of watering a house that's just fine. In this analogy, black lives are the burning house, and everyone else is living much more comfortably in the house that isn't burning down. Clearly, one is a bigger problem.
It is illegal to treat people differently because of their race or culture. If it happens to you, remember - no one has the right to make you feel bad or abuse you for who you are.
More thinking/ information:
Look at this wordless book 'I Walk With Vanessa':
Look at the pictures and consider: What is happening and why? How does it make you feel? Have you ever seen or experienced anything like this before? How were you involved? What should you do if you saw this happening between other children?