Letter from Transformative Teach

We hope this message finds you at this moment in time - rooted in resistance and dedicated to the movement for fighting for Black lives and anti-racism. The Transformative Teach Team denounces and challenges the legacies of white supremacy, colonization, and slavery. These legacies have contributed to the dehumanization, criminalization, and traumatization of Black people. This is a nonnegotiable fact.

These are the same legacies in which Native Americans and Indigenous folx have been murdered in the name of civilization. LatinX communities have been deported and discriminated against in the name of the economy. LGBTQIA+ communities have been sodomized in the name of religion. AANHPI folx have been detained and marked as #modelminorities in the name of assimilation. Black individuals have been murdered and policed in the name of slavery. These legacies are the same legacies that continue to exacerbate the crisis of mass incarceration, police brutality, and murder - while simultaneously glorifying and capitalizing off of Black culture.

Today, prison functions to isolate, confine, and inflict pain and suffering on Black and brown bodies. The institution of modern policing is derived from slave patrols which were designed to hunt, kill, and control individuals who had escaped slavery. The instrument of mass incarceration is a tool to enact racialized social control. It was developed as an extension of the criminal legal system to exact domination and maintain legacies of structural racism that are embedded within the fabric of American society.

We are over being silenced. We are over Black and brown individuals being murdered. We are over Black and brown bodies being devalued, disposed of, and forgotten. The perpetuation of systemic inequities within healthcare, education, politics, religion, housing, and food security, among other social problems have disproportionately affected Black and Brown communities. These systems are not broken - they are functioning exactly how they were designed to function. Systemic change is long overdue.

Transformative Teach recognizes that peaceful protest and participation in solidarity action is not enough. Transformative Teach recognizes that reform is not enough. As public awareness increases, the mechanisms of resistance demand new strategies that directly transform the system and reframe the politics of power. While there has been considerable efforts such as petitions, protests, and policy proposals for advocating systemic change, the demands have not come to fruition.

These demands directly apply to our current educational landscape. Transformative Teach is a platform focused on equipping educators with the essential tools to dismantle the School-to-Prison-Pipeline - a complex, inequitable process that directly funnels youth out of the classroom and into the criminal legal system that disproportionately represents black, brown, LGBTQ+, youth with disabilities, and low-income youth. We employ a rhetoric of healing and transformation for which the feasibility of eliminating these systems and securing transformative justice is made possible. These discipline policies criminalize youth, encourage police presence at schools, and perpetuate education inequity.

Transformative Teach builds upon decades of movements, makes the knowledge for collective action visible and accessible, and combines education with actionable equity-minded tools. We are building partnerships with school districts, educators, and organizations - with the recognition that educators are uniquely positioned to dismantle the School-to-Prison-Pipeline.

Our curriculum equips leaders with four central concepts: (1) the legacies of mass incarceration and institutional racism, (2) how systems of power and oppression implicate policies, (3) the position of schools and classrooms to create spaces for youth to thrive, and (4) alternative approaches to disrupt discriminatory practices and policies. Transformative Teach focuses on repairing harm, restoring relationships, equipping educators with equity-minded tools, and supporting students’ needs to actively dismantle, disrupt, and rebuild existing systems of power.

We are at a critical time. Silence is complacency. Black Lives Matter. Transform with us.

Rooted in Resistance,

Olivia Gardner, Cam Perdido, Therese Gardner, Emma Piller, Nathan Roura



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