My first real memory of racism happened when I was in the second grade. I was sitting in the cafeteria for breakfast and this little girl, blonde hair and blue eyes, glared at the boy sitting across from her and said, “You can’t sit there because you are Black!” I will never forget those words. I will also never forget how surprised I was to hear that.
“You can’t sit there because you are Black!”
Up until that point, Black history wasn’t a real thing to me. We learned some things in school but being seven or eight years old, those “things” didn’t have any real weight until it hit close to home. In my mind, I thought, I am Black too. Are there things I am not allowed to do because of the color of my skin?
My first Black history project I can remember happened in fourth grade. I used a 2 liter Coke bottle, filled it with sand, and created Harriet Tubman with markers, scraps of loose cloth, and my childhood creative imagination. It felt like I did those type of projects from elementary school and beyond – only my Coke bottles turned into research papers and dissertations. My primary education years consisted of the same rhetoric and notable figures: Harriett Tubman, Martin Luther King, Sojourner Truth, and Frederick Douglass. It took me becoming an adult to really learn that Black history did not start with slavery.
Are there things I am not allowed to do because of the color of my skin?
It Is Time For A Change
Moving to the Black Mecca, Atlanta, I was exposed to many different and more positive forms of Black history. This was affirming for my own standards but once I became a mother, what my daughter learned about her history became that much more important to me. Learning that slavery was the start of our history ultimately teaches children to start our lineage at a less than mindset when in reality, we ruled as kings and queens on our own lands. How do we teach our children their true history first?
CommUNITY Touring Theatre Is Changing The Narrative
CommUNITY Touring Theatre is a unique mobile touring theatre company that introduces school children from grades K-12 to African related history from the stage. Founded by community activist, Queen K, who believes deeply that the foundation of learning who you are is by knowing where we come from – CommUNIY Touring Theatre was just a thought in the summer of 2014. After watching many Black men being gunned down by police, Queen K wanted to create sustainability for those grassroots organizations that formed as a community effort of activism.
Queen K started CommUNITY Touring Theatre, also known as CPATT to provide a fun and light form to teach history that didn’t make it in most school curriculums. Instead of focusing on the history of slavery and civil rights, the stage plays put together by CPATT encourage children to learn about figures like Mansa Musa, Hatshepsut, and The Great Kandake of Meroe.
“My biggest lesson in all of this, when you birth an idea, try your hardest to block life’s distractions and stick to it,” says Queen K. “You are capable of completing it. If you were lucky to form the concept, you have the capability to see it through. Believe in yourself. I can be very intimidating and discouraging with limited resources. But a way is always created if you believe in yourself and your idea. Stick with your concept until it is a reality.“
The CommUNITY Touring Theatre is currently sponsoring one lucky teacher to join us in Santa Marta, Colombia for our Self Care Retreat June 9-15th.
Here is how you can enter to win:
- Create a video saying Nipsey Hussle’s words of encouragement:
” I just want to send some words of encouragement – ya’ll stay focused, yall keep working hard. Believe in yourself. Prove everybody that doubt ya’ll wrong. Show up everyday. Stay pure, keep your heart pure. Stay motivated. Stay inspired. Show love to your people.” – Nipsey Hussle
3. Use the hashtag #themarathoncontinues
Giveaway ends this Friday, April 26th! Tag a teacher below that would love to join us in Colombia!
To learn more about The CommUNITY Touring Theatre or to book them for your school, you can visit their website here.