The Messy Story Behind The Black Lives Matter Sign In My White Family’s Window

By: Shannon Cofrin Gaggero Huffingtonpost.com

 

Source: PEACESUPPLIES.ORG/PRODUCTS/BLACK-LIVES-

A few months ago, I placed this yellow, intersectional Black Lives Matter sign created by Matice M. Moore. A Black artist and activist located in Arizona, in a front window of our house in Atlanta, Georgia….

I’m a white, cisgender, heterosexual woman with class privilege. My husband is also white, cisgender and heterosexual and our children are white.

After the Charleston massacre, I was propelled into action and for the past two years I’ve been laser focused on how I can show up as a parent and a person for racial and social justice….

While I’m certainly trying more than ever before, I do not pretend to be a perfect, anti-racist white person by any stretch of the imagination….

We live on a high-traffic street in Atlanta, Georgia, in a predominately white, affluent community. Despite Atlanta’s reputation as the liberal oasis of the South, we witness racism often, primarily via our neighborhood listserves. Black men, in particular, but also black women and children are racially profiled, “see something, say something” is pushed as a way of life, and gentrification is celebrated. Our neighborhood is obsessed with crime; many of my neighbors believe we are under attack and unsafe. The data does not support this mindset….

I knew my husband’s hesitation to display the Black Lives Matter sign was the same as my own. We were scared. We were scared of a negative reaction from neighbors or random people walking by. We didn’t want to risk physical harm to ourselves, our children, or our home. Even though we supported Black Lives Matter in many ways in our lives, our whiteness afforded us the option to keep that support hidden and stay protected when we wanted to be. It was a privilege we weren’t quick to give up….

I’m ashamed to admit that I needed a Trump presidency to push me beyond this fear and to be fully out about where I stand….

I decided to again bring up the Black Lives Matter yard sign with my husband after wearing the pin for a couple of weeks. At first, my husband doubled down and stated he still felt uncomfortable displaying a sign….

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Since our original conversation about the sign, a post I had written had gone pseudo-viral and I received a lot of online harassment and threats of violence….

My husband remained scared…

I primarily felt sad because our argument was a clear example of how whiteness works.

Being white affords us very real, physical and emotional protections in the communities we spend time in.

We were mitigating our risk at outwardly stating Black Lives Matter. We were admitting we expected backlash from our white neighbors. We were debating remaining hidden as people who strongly believe Black Lives Matter because we were scared. We were not used to taking risks as individuals or as a family. We were not used to being on the receiving end of negative, hateful interactions. This was whiteness….

If we remained silent, we had to consider ourselves active participants to injustice. Putting up a sign was a small action, to be sure, but it mattered….

We had the privilege of a breather.

After the New Year, my husband came around and supported putting up the sign, but asked we display it in our front window due to the fact we live on a busy street and to avoid the sign vandalization our friend had experienced. It was a compromise and that’s where the sign currently lives….

For better or for worse, this is our truth…. Moreover, we’ve come to fully understand that silence is ultimately as harmful as violence….

The first few months of Donald Trump’s presidency have done nothing but solidify the reality that we all need to dig deep and take new, bold and continuous actions, big and small, in order to protect the most vulnerable in our communities.

What about you? Are you up for the challenge? What actions will you take?

 

 

Read full Article here.

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A Hug That Earned a Student Suspension

By Rebecca Klein, HuffingtonPost.com

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Sam McNair

A petition for Sam McNair, a Georgia teen suspended from school earlier this month after hugging a teacher, is gaining steam around the Internet.

According to ABC’s “Good Morning America,” the school released a statement clarifying that “hearing officers consider witness testimony, a review of the known facts, and a student’s past disciplinary history when determining consequences” in disciplinary issues. The district cannot comment further on a pending case.

While the outlet notes that McNair does have a history of disciplinary misconduct, he has never been punished before for sexual harassment.

ABC News legal anchor Dan Abrams says that he thinks the school’s decision makes sense. “It’s a tough sentence but they say he’d been in trouble before and that’s why he got the stiff sentence,” said Abrams.

McNair’s mother told HuffPost that she is in the process of appealing the decision. The petition, which had over 4,000 signatures on Wednesday afternoon, calls on Gwinnett County Public Schools to overturn McNair’s punishment. According to the Change.org petition, which was started by a Los Angeles woman, “The punishment does NOT fit the violation.”

The high school senior was suspended until next December after a teacher claimed McNair sexually harassed her, according to CBS Atlanta. Video surveillance footage of the incident shows McNair hugging the teacher from behind before she promptly pushes him away. The teacher claims that McNair’s lips and cheek touched her neck, though McNair vehemently denies this, per CBS Atlanta.

hug16k-1-webMcNair, who is a star athlete, told the outlet that he has hugged his teachers in the past but was never disciplined for it. However, the teacher in question said in a discipline report that she had previously warned McNair about inappropriate hugs. (. . .)

According to ABC’s “Good Morning America,” the school released a statement clarifying that “hearing officers consider witness testimony, a review of the known facts, and a student’s past disciplinary history when determining consequences” in disciplinary issues. The district cannot comment further on a pending case.

While the outlet notes that McNair does have a history of disciplinary misconduct, he has never been punished before for sexual harassment.ABC News legal anchor Dan Abrams says that he thinks the school’s decision makes sense. “It’s a tough sentence but they say he’d been in trouble before and that’s why he got the stiff sentence,” said Abrams.

McNair’s mother told HuffPost that she is in the process of appealing the decision.

Read the full article.

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This Day in Black History

Spelman College Logo

Spelman College Logo

Spelman college was founded on this day in 1881. They are one of over 100 historically Black Colleges and Universities in America.

Spelman is a private institution for women only found in Atlanta, Georgia. They offer courses of study in liberal arts, arts and sciences, fine arts, performing arts, computer science, engineering, and religious studies. Also at Spelman, a joint degree in engineering is offered in cooperation with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York; the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia; and Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts.

Read more about Spelman College here.