That’s Right, I’m on the Roland Martin Bandwagon

Sep 14, 2018 12:00:00 AM

by Tanesha Peeples

Outrage: Access Still Denied

Last week, my mentor and sister in the struggle, Kenya Bradshaw, dropped a gem at the LEAP InnovatEd Summit that really made me wonder if people are really down for fixing issues in education that hinder students of color. She basically said that people who are truly engaged in solving a problem will eventually solve the problem. Now, if this theory is true—and I believe it is—then why are so many kids still failing? Because with all of this talk about and fighting for integration and equity, our kids still don’t fully have access to a quality education. Some of these “advocates” are starting to look suspect. I have to agree with Nikole Hannah-Jones in feeling like the scales of education will always be unbalanced for Black kids. I mean, school districts don’t need to inform families of their options, do they? White kids simply deserve to go to better schools than Black and Latino kids, don’t they? Black boys are incapable of learning to read. So why even try? This is what I think when I see kids in my neighborhood attending failing schools and enduring closures while 60,000 seats remain open in high-performing schools across the city. This is what I think when Black and Latino parents in Connecticut have to sue for their children to gain access to schools that are holding seats for White kids. This is what I think when 4 out of 5 Black children aren’t proficient in reading in the eighth grade.

Hope: We’re Going to Speak On It

Last week, Roland Martin announced that he was launching #RolandMartinUnfiltered, a digital show that brings conversations about voter suppression and education to the forefront. And in a community that has been divided on school choice, I applaud and appreciate Mr. Martin for being one of the few public figures to advocate for Black families to have options, especially he knows he’s going to get plenty of pushback. Here’s why this is important. We’ve allowed policymakers, educators and others from outside of our community to guide the narrative on educational issues impacting communities of color and how to resolve them. In the meantime, things that we feel are important fly under the radar. And honestly, the world doesn’t seem to recognize educational issues in the Black and Brown communities until they hit the “big time” publications. Like this new phenomenon of Black people being discriminated against because of their hair. It’s been happening for years but it’s all of a sudden “new” because it’s in The New York Times. So we’ve created our own spaces and media to have conversations and come up with solutions about things that affect us. It’s been time for this real talk. Collective real talk. And we’re not holding back nor are we being silenced.

Tanesha Peeples

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 advocacy of those that are often ignored. Tanesha wholeheartedly believes that education is the foundation for success. Her grand vision is one where everyone—regardless of ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender or ZIP code—can have access to a comfortable quality of life and enjoy the freedoms and liberties promised to all Americans. And that's what she works towards every day.

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