Picture this—it’s Thanksgiving, the whole family’s waiting to eat but as usual, dinner is delayed and hangriness is a whole ass mood—but no one can show it because jubilance and harmony are the only acceptable vibes for the day.
Just as they're about to sit down and get to grubbin’, in walks that one cousin that insists on bringing extra guests—friends, long lost family members, maybe even a few of their romantic entanglements—without giving the host a heads up. Now everything is thrown off because there isn’t enough room at the table and the potluck was only supposed to serve a certain amount of people.
But, that cousin doesn’t care because they’re known for being disruptive and not following the rules and proceeds with introducing their guests. So here’s who’s crashing dinner!
Jason hails from Atlanta, Georgia. He’s part of a dope ass trio of activists who host a Facebook live show aiming to liberate Black minds through education called “Talk Dat Real Sh*t”. He’s also a blogger for EdLanta and has been an educator for 15 years, strong.
Tyson is reppin’ the Bay Area in Cali and does it all—rapper, poet, emcee, educator, activist and author of Black Boy Poems. Altogether, he’s a freedom fighter whose long-game is to eradicate the white colonial style education that has excluded the contributions, history and overall brilliance of Black people.
Garris and Zach are the radical educators that challenge the traditions of injustice and bias in public education.
As a middle school teacher in Kentucky, Garris advocates against inequities facing students in rural areas, specifically those around teacher diversity. His push for #InternetForAll and to strengthen pipelines for teachers of color has made him a trusted voice on various task forces and committees throughout the state to help carry these initiatives forward.
Similarly, Zach challenges the status quo by having difficult conversations about racism, teacher bias and discipline disparities. Having taught at the high school and college levels, he’s familiar with how an inadequate K-12 education can impact success outcomes in higher education, specifically for marginalized communities.
That’s why he’s held no punches in his fight for #InternetForAll in the pandemic because he’s not with our kids’ access to education being denied in any way, shape or form.
Khulia Pringle, Chioma Oruh, Natasha Dunn and Joy Elan
Khulia, Chioma, Natasha and Joy are the Black women and parents that “eff ish up” in their relentless and unapologetic advocacy for the quality of education for Black kids. Here’s how:
Khulia is going to get the school boards in the Twin Cities of Minnesota in line by any means necessary. Back in October, she and a few more activists led a protest calling for a boycott of the entire school district. That work definitely isn’t over.
In Chicago, Natasha put pressure on leaders at Chicago Public Schools to address the opportunity gaps the Black students are drowning in. That led to the creation of Black Student Achievement Task Force that’s now working with the district’s equity office to finally build a bridge over troubled waters.
Now if you haven’t caught on yet, all of these table crashers are education activists and I’m the disruptive cousin. These dope ass people are mi familia in the brightbeam network.
This cute little, metaphorical picture I’ve painted is really a snapshot of how we’re moving to reimagine education for students of color and disrupt this system that upholds oppression and stifles quality.
So hey, we don’t care if we’re not invited to the table—we’re knocking down doors and taking our seats. And the proverbial family I reference above—who are the gatekeepers to the traditional public education system—can claim to not have enough to feed our kids but, like it or not, they better be ready to pass and share their plates because we’re starving for justice, equity and liberation.
So happy Thanksgiving, y’all—feel free to crash some tables with us!
Tanesha Peeples is driven by one question in her work—“If not me, then who?” As the former Deputy Director of Activist Development for brightbeam, Tanesha merges the worlds of communications and grassroots activism to push for change in the public education system. Her passion for community and relentless mission for justice and liberation drive her in uplifting and amplifying the voices and ...