A Joyful Path, Year Three – Week 25: Black Lives Matter —Story: Black Lives Matter To Me So I March

For Classroom or Home School


Week 25: Winter
Lesson 21: Black Lives Matter

I celebrate and honor black lives.

Getting to the Heart of the Lesson

IMPORTANT: This lesson is intended for teachers and students who are in white bodies and identify as white. If this is not you, you may wish to skip this lesson and find something fun and healthy for your bodies — a picnic, a dance party, painting a mural or visiting a favorite park, etc. Alternatively, please choose any lesson you wish to visit again and share the activity/exploration activity you did not select the first time.

Black Lives Matter (founded 2013) birthed new layers of awareness and engagement in the United States’ understanding of racism and systemic racism. In March 2020, as Americans watched the video of George Floyd, a black man, being killed by a white police officer, demonstrations and marches erupted around the world, demanding police reform and an end to systemic patterns that support racism, social disparity and hate. Suddenly, after decades of scholarship, analysis, art, and legitimate alternatives on the fringes of society, there was recognition by masses of white people that the United States was not practicing what it believed about itself. With words and documents, the US preaches equality and the pursuit of happiness, but a closer look reveals a country born in the genocide of people who already lived here and loved this land, and an economy built on enslaving Africans forcibly trafficked here. More than any year previous, 2020 marked a year when white-bodied people – in the US and other countries, too – began to engage the work of dismantling systemic injustice and unlearning a consciousness that supports the manifestation of white supremacy.

This lesson asks us to identify and understand the privilege we carry by having been born white. Then, we will explore the ways our words and actions are needed for changing racial hate and violence in the US and around the world.

Here are some tips from the Child Mind Institute on talking with children about racism:

• Be clear, direct, and factual about current events and history. Emphasize that racial violence is wrong.

• Encourage questions even if you can’t answer them. It’s okay to acknowledge that this is a difficult topic and that you are uncomfortable, but it’s not a reason to stop talking.

• Don’t hide your emotions. Letting your child know you’re sad and angry about injustice is good modeling of human behavior that can assure them that it’s okay to express their feelings.

Keep the conversation open. Racism and violence are important topics that require ongoing dialogue. Let your kids know that you’re always available to talk, and be sure to keep checking in on them, too. From the Child Mind Institute

NOTE: If you wish to focus more intentionally on the Christian calendar, Lent and the time before Easter, this lesson lends itself to Jesus’ insistence for love and equality for all people. His radical love and willingness to act in ways that were provocative, inconvenient or counter- cultural were precisely the reasons the Empire did not know what to do with Him. This is an important Lenten theme as we re-evaluate our own behaviors and endeavor to love more fiercely.

Teacher Reflection

Some reading and a 10-20 min exercise (more if you have time and wish to take it) so you are able to experience the teachings offered through this week’s lesson).

Choose one of the following to support your continued and expanding awareness of what it means to be in a white body and to recognize the responsibility we each carry in our desire to end the conditions that perpetuate racism, violence and hate.

Option 1 — Return to the quotes at the top of this section, or read the Wisdom Quotes.

Option 2 — Train your body to be present, peaceful and engaged in confronting white-skin privilege by practicing any of these examples suggested in Resmaa Menakem’s book (2), My Grandmother’s Hands (p. 207-10).

Sacred Text Quote

Christian Scriptures. Matthew 10:34-40 (NRSV)

Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.

Christian Scriptures. Luke 4:16-19 (NRSV)

When [Jesus]came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.He has sent me to proclaim

Slavery has never been abolished from America’s way of thinking. – Nina Simone

Hebrew Scriptures. Leviticus 19:18 (NRSV)

You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

Sikhism. Adi Granth, Sri Rage, M.5, p 74

Now is the gracious Lord’s ordinance promulgated, No one shall cause another pain or injury; All mankind shall live in peace together, Under a shield of administrative benevolence.

Islam. Forty Hadith of an-Nawawi 24

God said, “O My servants, I have made wickedness for Myself and have made it forbidden among you, so do not do injustice to one another.”

Wisdom Quotes

No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite. ― Layla F. Saad, Me and White Supremacy: How to Recognise Your Privilege, Combat Racism and Change the World

Ignorance of how we are shaped racially is the first sign of privilege. In other words. It is a privilege to ignore the consequences of race in America. ― Tim Wise

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.” ― Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

You’re not to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it. ― Malcolm X

Be sure to click here to download the Teaching Introduction and Instructions.


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