Raising the Black Lives Matter Banner outside the CRLS building ASAP

Raising the Black Lives Matter Banner outside the CRLS building ASAP

June 1, 2020
Petition to
The CPS Administration and
This petition made change with 2,726 supporters!

Why this petition matters

Started by Salam Tesfaye

For weeks, we have seen & read about the horrifc news stories & videos of police brutality & white supremacy privilege terrorizing the innocent black people's lives: Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Christian Cooper, George Floyd, etc. nationwide.

The anger & sadness that we're seeing across the nation from Black people is a reminder that racism is immune to social distancing & a pandemic that is also disproportionating hurting Black people. The stamina of Black people trying to survive each day at their essential jobs (or without their jobs), & within online classes are being exhausted. 

The "exhaustion" is definitely not "new" to Cambridge, in particular, for us members as part of the CRLS BLACK STUDENT UNION over the past few years. We have lived 2 exhausting realities in our community: one reality where a community will promote video celebrating black children (in other cities) bravely expressing the pain of racism & microaggressions or create videos featuring local role models encouraging us to speak out more or send self-congratulatory emails on how much change is happening & coming. The other reality is that when "we" (a community's own children, students, residents, & future voters) also spoke out on those issues happening here, the backlash we received from our community spoke volumes that still is loud, terrifying, & exhausting for us.

So now, probably more than ever before, is it needed for black children to be seen & validated by & within their community, for all to see that our young black lives matter, every day, while we are still here to see it.

In 2018, the Racial Justice Alliance, a student-led group called that Montpelier High School in Vermont (the school has only 350 students, with only 18 Black students) proposed and raised a black lives matter flag at their high school -- which approval by their school board & principal.

(Yes, they received criticism. & yes they still raised the flag)

Last October, CRLS BSU was honored when former Mayor of Cambridge asked us if we would accept the donated Black Lives Matter banner that hung outside the City Hall building, so we could display in our BSU classroom. With everything that has happened in our country, and regardless of our school building being closed, there will be a day when all of us will return: this September, sometime in June to clean out our lockers, or even when we are passing through the schoolyard during a morning jog.

The CRLS BLACK STUDENT UNION is requesting that the black lives matter Banner be raised outside the CRLS building ASAP, before the school year ends and to remain raised for the entire 2020-2021 school year

Though I may be a small act, the literal image of that flag waving outside the only Public School in our community for everyone to see is a much-needed big celebrity statement right now (if there's any concern of purchasing an actual Black Lives Matter "flag", we are giving permission for CRLS, CPS, and the City of Cambridge to use our runner-up "Social Innovation Award" money given to us by the Cambridge Community Foundation, to pay for it. and, if that is a timely roadblock, an alternative solution we propose is for the BLM banner to be hung on the outside school building front entrance.

With this request, we strongly emphasize that this isn't a request to be completed for this summer, or sometime next school year.

This request doesn't/shouldn't require a focus group, community-wide survey, a town hall discussion, a compromise for other flags banners to be displayed to you, or to seek permission from the City's Police Department. 

This isn't and shouldn't be an "all lives matter" debate, & a waiver for CPS from its unresolved hurt towards our CRLS BLACK STUDENT UNION over the years. 

There is a lot of hurt that we've seen and that still holds in our hearts. There are a lot of future difficult conversations that we in this community need and will have about our relationship moving forward, too.

But, the small act would be a very small step in the right direction, right now.



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