MLK Alum Christina Damon speaks at Black Lives Matter Protest. Transcript below:
Hi everyone! Thank you Quincy for sharing your platform with me. I was talking to my grandfather before I came out to protest today and he said, “you know Christina, when the protests first started, I really thought they were going to only last a day”. I didn’t think people were going to keep it moving and I remember as a child my mom shielding my face from white people in Texas. And to see young white people protesting and saying that Black Lives Matter and trying to figure out how you can help us dismantle systems of oppression brought a tear to his eye, and it carries a lot of weight, so thank you.
I wanted to talk about how in our schools right now, Black boys are 4X more likely to receive disciplinary action than anyone else in their school. Many teachers don’t see themselves as bad teachers. You know, we can all think of that teacher from our youth and think “dang I didn’t like that teacher”, but you cannot consider yourself a good teacher unless you start vocalizing and supporting rights for your Black students. When you see your colleagues sending students out of their classroom for undetermined amounts of time, when you see your colleagues drawing on a student’s face, (these are real stories) when you see your colleagues; instead of leaning in during equity meetings, texting their fellow teachers about where they want to eat for lunch, that undermines the work we’re doing and it is an ultimate sign of privilege to be able to opt out when it becomes uncomfortable for you.
The best thing you can do to support us is we need to you do this emotional and intellectual labor. It is very taxing for your Black teachers and Black colleagues at work or your Black friends or the Black people you care about to have to constantly call out violations and then choose the words to be able to explain that violation constantly, constantly, so what I ask of you is in addition to what we see here, which is a huge display of support is when you see your colleagues, friends or family doing things trying to undermine the work we are trying to do you need to call it out.
I just want to say thank you again, I am very proud of what we’ve seen tonight. I’m proud to be surrounded by other Black educators and activists. Black thoughts matter. Black leadership matters, we just saw a state senator pepper sprayed and arrested in New York because they did not know he was an authority figure out there. We just ask again that you hold each other accountable, and verbalize your support and check people, that is the best way, in my opinion, to see that you are really embodying this idea that my life matters, and my family’s lives matter, and your friends’ and colleagues’ lives matter who you care about. Thank you.