August 28, 2020 update to this post, in light of of recent events in Kenosha, Wisconsin:
We are angered, frustrated, and saddened by the police shooting of Jacob Blake and stand by those who protest the continued assault on Black and Brown people in this country and their demand for leaders to take action. Look for a guest blog post on Monday with further thoughts about these recent events and issues of systemic racism--and a connection to PBL.
[Original post below, published on June 2, 2020]
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
– Langston Hughes, “Harlem”
We are outraged by the continual killing of Black people and the ravaging consequences of centuries of racism and inequality on Black people in this country.
The recent killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor follow a long history of killings and state-sanctioned violence against Black people – the events recently captured on video or reported by the media, and the many, many more that we will never know about. This continued violence against Black people and the systemic and racist inequalities in this country are intolerable, and it has boiled over into rage and protests throughout the nation.
This has been amplified by disproportionate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Black people.
Given our organization’s racial equity imperative, we are called to an even stronger commitment to equity within our organization and to confront racism and anti-Blackness in our education system.
We believe that how we act and what we say in this defining moment will determine a vision for an anti-racist future.
We are taking a stand against the perpetual state of systemic violence against Black bodies in this country. We stand in solidarity with those who are protesting in our cities and neighborhoods. This weekend, Kareem Abdul Jabbar urged us to not rush to judgement of protesters but to “rush to justice.” Together as an organization, PBLWorks has chosen to work for justice and against anti-Blackness. We will continue our collective learning about anti-Blackness, hidden bias, white supremacy, and no longer remain silent or complicit about these critically important issues.
As educators committed to the power of Project Based Learning to transform the lives of young people, we know many Black students right now are wondering if their lives matter. We are committed to creating educational systems that value and lift up Black children.
Today and every day we stand with our Black community, our Black colleagues, our Black families, and our Black children. We stand on the side of justice along with countless other organizations, businesses and individuals speaking out against racism.
We believe that together we can change the systems that are not equitably serving all people in our country.
Together, we can actualize a more just and equitable country. We are in this until a better future becomes our reality.
To learn more about equity in education, and what teachers can do, see the National Equity Project, Rethinking Schools, Facing History and Ourselves, Teaching Tolerance, and our blog post series on PBL and equity.