I woke up this morning and got to work formulating how to begin the journey that I know we all will be taking in the next 2 months to prepare ourselves and our communities to make a change. Here is a Curricula I have prepared to raise up our students and staff at El Puente. Please feel free to use it, shift it, grow it.
This is also a great article for all of us to read and support us in our work today and moving forward with our youth: What Do We Tell Our Children? by Ali Michael (Teacher Educator)
Do not Fear and retreat to notions of helplessness and hopelessness
This is the time for courage and vigilance
Do not be divisive and create blame directed on those that need you more than ever to see them as brother and sister
This is the time for interconnection and unity
Do not be frozen in disbelief of truth that was always present- capitalism, racism, patriarchy and misogyny have always been foundations of this country
This is the time for action and movement
Do not give power to the power they believe they have over us- we have everything within ourselves and in our communities to enact true change starting with the everyday actions in your home, your neighborhoods and your schools that create revolution
This is the time to rise and resist
This is the time.
We are together,
I Am Not Afraid Curriculum (A Response to the Results of the US Presidential Election and Donald Trump)
Activity #1: Breaking Down the Deeper Truths Revealed Beneath Fear
Check-In: (Chart the answers) In one word or phrase Name your initial reactions/feelings after you heard Donald Trump was voted the President Elect of the United States?
“It is important for us to process the truth about what it means for a Man like Donald Trump being selected to run our country. It is important to reflect deeply on how we as a community take on the truths and begin understanding that we, more than ever need to gather together powerfully and ready ourselves to stand up for the “Liberty and Justice of ALL”
Many of these feelings we had this morning are rooted in the presence of FEAR- and FEAR arises because there is a threat, there is something at risk, because we may lose something, because we feel we have no control, because we feel victimized.
What are the things that we FEAR most will happen with a man like Trump as President? (Chart this Also)
I want you to share some of what he has declared he will do or ways he has been threatening to our communities in his words and actions (i.e. Build a Wall to keep Mexican immigrants out, KKK affiliations, Saying he would grab women by the pu**y and other misogynistic declarations, etc.)
What are other Specific plights of our communities that will be affected by Trump’s initiatives he has declared he would implement with his presidency (i.e. The education system, housing and developments creating gentrification and displacement, construction by corporations destroying natural resources, mass incarceration)
This is not something to take lightly. This is not a moment to be complacent and go back to the lives we were living yesterday, this is a time when we have to begin looking at these issues at hand and understand more than ever how we as individuals and a community can stand up, and join the fight to stop them from worsening following the lead of a president who is openly and relentlessly racist-white supremacist, misogynist, homophobic, islamaphobic and ready to destroy any natural resource for capitalistic gain. We need to ready ourselves for the projected 4 years that our communities will have to fight for our rights, for our liberties and what already feels like for our LIVES.
We’re going to take a moment to breakdown the specific issues at hand.
Small Groups: Students will be split into small groups of 6-8 to breakdown an issue that they feel most passionate about from what we listed. They will answer the following questions (give them theses questions and ask them to answer them in this order).-
- How does this issue affect you personally?
- What in US History supports this issue existing?
- What social and political structures (laws) hold this in place or contribute to this worsening? (I.e. Interconnected issues)
- What has been done so far to change this that you know of?
- What are questions you have that you feel you need answered to understand this issue deeper?
Return to Large Group: (Discussion)
These questions are ones that help us to crack the SURFACE of an issue, and we can deepen it and deepen it with intention. What did you all discover about the issue that you sought to tackle? What layers did you uncover?
The beginning is the questioning, the action comes from deep understanding and aligning ourselves with others who feel passionate about the same issues as you. And following in this path and working in a way that you understand how valuable your voice, your actions, you movement to a movement, begins with how you orient yourself in your daily living.
Throughout US history we have encountered these injustices and oppressions at extremes- genocide of Natives, Slavery, segregation, injustices around undocumented people’s, Black and Brown people being shot on the street, etc. But we have continued rising up.
Show demographics of voting highlighting the high rate of the 18-25 Year old bracket having voted for alternative or the Democratic Parties. Really have this graphic sink in, If the youth of the US were the ones to have voted in this president we would have had a very different morning of November 9, 2016. LET THEM KNOW HOW THEY ARE THE HOPE OF THE FUTURE.
Break Down The Electoral Vote vs. Popular Vote process- This is a Great 6 minute Video that Breaks it Down The Trouble with The Electoral College
It is important for you all to understand that we cannot see our power as a peoples ending at the Voting polls, people are already turning to one another in BLAME and divisiveness. We more than ever need to look to one another and unite.
Your generation is our HOPE. We know that. Think about some positive things that are advancements from your generation and the time we live in that make it easier for us to Unite? What are your generation’s capabilities and what they have shown of their ability to create a different world on the shoulders of your ancestors’ plight?
What are large people’s movements you have seen occur in the US and the World in the past couple of years and how are they still growing?
- Start with Occupy Wall Street- A NYC Movement that Created a Ripple for Movements to Come, this action brought us the ability to understand the depth of our right to assembly, the first like this in NYC, and with such diversity in attendance. This is also when the police began to shift because of it, their tactics shift with the people’s power growing. Show them photos in this order and see if the can guess what movements they are:
2. Black Lives Matter (A Nation Wide Movement) Talk about how tactics from Occupy were used in BLM and how they grew deeper, how there was massive movements happening simultaneously in the country and how it rapid response to these movements grew and grew. It unfortunately, because of the amount of killings of Black and Brown people becoming more and more visible became a norm for protest to happen, and thus brought us to a place where the police would also respond readily.
3. Standing Rock (A Global Movement) All on our land of the United States. Really bring awareness of the connection to this and our Native Peoples and how the call has reached around the world because we are facing a united issue around our Natural Resources all over the WORLD. Talk about the tactics that are happening around encampments and Warrior fronts, where Peaceful Direct Action is the center of this movement.
What would it look like if all these movements stood up together all at once? Is that Possible? Why has it not happened yet?
Share also the demographic of diversity in the US. And show them the class breakdown in the US and the disproportion of wealth. Guide them in seeing how many people do not benefit from Trump’s declarations of action for his Presidency- the connection across movements.
Discuss this as a collective- How is this landing with you? What is Coming up for you?
Activity #2: Value Charting
The students will be given a worksheet- with boxes breaking down parts of their life that will have them reflect on what makes them Valuable and Powerful and what support they have around them.
- What are you Talents?
- What Survival Skills do you have?
- What are the things you are most passionate about?
- The most important lessons you have learned about humanity
- People who you Love, that share your values, who you can Trust and turn to?
- What are your wishes for Humanity
- What are the parts of your personality that you feel are most powerful?
Activity #3: I Am Not Afraid Declaration Freewrite
Using your Value Chart write a message to Donald Trump with the declaration- “I am NOT afraid…”
Have all participants share their pieces. Record some of the students speaking their statements and share on a video or have them post lines or their full declarations to #IAmNotAfraid
*Some sharings of students and staff at El Puente Williamsburg Leadership Center
Declaration by El Puente Arts/Activist Facilitator Jana Lynne Umipig
“I am not afraid.
I am prepared.
I am equipped with so many powerful skills and gifts to give to the survival and empowerment of my family and community.
I’m also surrounded with some of the most brilliant organizers, teachers, healers, warriors and visionaries who I know are readying themselves beside me.
I am not afraid.
My ancestors and the creator put me here because I am meant to serve and to rise here. I know they got me.
And I got ya’ll
Relieve yourselves of fear and victimization
The veil is being uncovered more and more
And the illusion of the United States is lifted
For the whole world to see
This system was never ours
It was not our ancestors’
And was not the system of the ancestors of this very land
It was always the white mans’, the colonizers’
Now is the time
To look to each other
To speak up
Look to one another
We are strong
We are intelligent
We are powerful
We have our ancestors, the land, the sky and the waters on OUR side
We are together.”
Closing: Next Steps
What is one thing you are taking away from today’s circle and what is something you are personally going to do to inspire or make change after leaving today?
Trump will not be Inaugurated until 2 months from now, what are some Actions or Events we could plan for youth and families in the next coming weeks? (If you want to flesh this out more as an Activity #4 you can Use the El Puente Rapid Response Tool attached to help)