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Tanesha Peeples

We Got 99 Problems But One Confederate-Named School Ain't One

Outrage: Too Many Kids on the Street

There are 1.3 million students in America without homes. Nate Bowling teaches 12 of them.
I think I’m plugged into what’s going on with my students, but I realized in that moment that I had no idea...I felt frustrated because he was the 12th student this year to confide in me that they were homeless.
It makes me wonder what will happen with the kids being separated from their parents at the border. According to NPR, “Children begin at border patrol facilities, are transferred to longer-term shelters and are supposed to eventually be placed with families or sponsors.” Will they someday become homeless, too, adding to the problem? It’s a real possibility because this country has its priorities f’d up. With millions of kids already living on the streets, why is Trump investing much-needed resources into menacing people at the border? Why not use that money to build permanent housing for homeless youth? Or open more schools like this one? I get it, border control is an issue. But we have kids that can’t even focus on going to school because they need to survive the night. And teachers like Nate Bowling drive themselves crazy trying save each and every student.

Hope: I Got 99 Schools and They Need New Names

It’s happening. Slowly but surely. There are 100 public schools in America still named for Confederate leaders. Well, make that 99. The latest to come tumbling down is J.E.B. Stuart Elementary School in Richmond, Virginia—the former capital of the Confederacy. It’s being renamed Barack Obama Elementary School. I’m sure the far-right racists and Barack haters will love that, LOL! Still, it’s bittersweet for me. Because in the same week we observed Juneteenth and celebrated the abolishment of slavery, we are still constantly reminded that we’re not fully emancipated in America. This is progress. But there’s much work to be done. My friend Nehemiah Frank has fought tirelessly to change the name of Robert E. Lee Elementary School in Tulsa, but so far they only agreed to remove the first name (same thing happened in San Antonio). Do they really think the Black families sending their kids to Lee School won’t feel the sting of 250 years of oppression? Please. But Richmond still gives me hope that the other 99 will come down soon.
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 ...

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