Black Lives Matter: Anti-Racist Strategies


Black Americans: We see you, we hear you, we support you, and we condemn the violent acts against Black Americans that happen too frequently in the United States including the murders most recently of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, David McAtee, Tony McDade, and Breonna Taylor. Black. Lives. Matter.

Racism is a long-standing virus in our country. Because of racism, Black people are brutalized, murdered, and unjustly treated. This virus is not new—it is engrained in our history. And what is happening in our country now (and throughout our time as a nation) is motivated by the White systemic racism that permeates structures and motivations of this country.

As Dr. Ibram X. Kendi states in How to Be an Antiracist, “The opposite of racist isn’t ‘not racist.’ It is ‘anti-racist.’ What’s the difference? One endorses either the idea of a racial hierarchy as a racist, or racial equality as an anti-racist. One either believes problems are rooted in groups of people, as a racist, or locates the roots of problems in power and policies, as an anti-racist. One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an anti-racist. There is no in-between safe space of ‘not racist.'”

So to combat racism, we must be actively anti-racist.

Educate ourselves about the history of racism, race relations, and the act of anti-racism. 

  • Anti-Racism Booklist from @idealbookshelf
  • Anti-Racism Book List from Candace Greene McManus including gateway books and books to dig deeper.
  • Educators: Educate on race in education and in literature.
    • Books to share from The Brown Book Shelf and KidLit Community Rally for Black Lives:
      • We Got This: Equity, Access, and the Quest to Be Who Our Students Need Us to Be by Cornelius Minor
      • Being the Change: Lessons and Strategies to Teach Social Comprehension by Sara K. Ahmed
      • Teacher for Black Lives by Dyan Watson, Jesse Hagopian, and Wayne Au
      • Libraries, Literacy, and African American Youth edited by Dr. Paulette Brown Bracy, Sandra Hughes-Hassell, and Casey H. Rawson
      • The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games by Ebony Elizabeth Thomas

Educate ourselves about what IS racist. 

  • Learn about passive/covert racism as well as active/overt racism and take action on what.
  • Educators: Learn about how schools are racist and how they have the potential to get even worse (from The Progressive). (The links in this article provide further background, as well.)
    • Then, apply what you have learned to your own context. What can you do to make a change? How can you stop being complicit and start being anti-racist?

Make sure we understand our own implicit biases and White privilege. 

It’s time to start doing. Remember: educating ourselves is critical, but it is only the first step. Action must follow.

Share posts from Black activists or organizations that inform about, fight against, and educate on police brutality.

Support works produced by Black artists and creatives. 

Donate, join, support, and participate in organizations (a few are noted below).

Support Black businesses.

Highlight the history and contributions of the Black community. Below, we offer a list of contributions to education and books. 

Call your local and state reps and demand change.

Discuss race, race relations, and anti-racism with students, kids, family, etc. 

Read and share books by BIPOC authors and about BIPOC characters with our students, kids, family, etc. 

  • Book recommendations by Black authors (This is a list of books we have especially loved and recommend. This list is limited. Please be sure to click the links throughout the post for more book recommendations, and keep your finger on the pulse of new releases to constantly learn and grow.)
    • Picture Books
      • Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed, illustrated by Stasia Burrington
      • Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets by Kwame Alexander
      • The 5 O’Clock Band by Troy Andrews, illustrated by Bryan Collier
      • Trombone Shorty by Troy Andrews, illustrated by Bryan Collier
      • Preaching to the Chickens: The Story of Young John Lewis by Jabari Asim, illustrated by E.B. Lewis
      • Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Gordon C. James
      • The King of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
      • Knock Knock: My Dad’s Dream for Me by Daniel Beaty, illustrated by Bryan Collier
      • The Patchwork Bike by Maxine Beneba, illustrated by Van Thanh Rudd
      • Rocket Says Look Up! by Nathan Bryon, illustrated by Dapo Adeloa
      • Firebird by Misty Copeland, illustrated by Christopher Myers
      • Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall
      • Shortcut by Donald Crews
      • Freight Train by Donald Crews
      • Just Like a Mama by Alice Faye Duncan, illustrated by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow
      • Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop: The Sanitation Strike of 1968 by Alice Faye Duncan, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
      • Bedtime for Sweet Creatures by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon
      • Going Down Home with Daddy by Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated by Daniel Minter
      • Hands Up! by Breanna J. McDaniel, illustrated by Shane W. Evans
      • Fresh Princess by Denene Millner, illustrated by Gladys Jose
      • Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora
      • H.O.R.S.E.: A Game of Basketball and Imagination by Christopher Myers
      • Harlem by Walter Dean Myers, illustrated by Christopher Myers
      • Muhammad Ali: The People’s Champion by Walter Dean Myers, illustrated by Alix Delinois
      • Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans by Kadir Nelson
      • Nelson Mandela by Kadir Nelson
      • My Brother Charlie by Holly Robinson Peete & Ryan Elizabeth Peete, illustrated by Shane W. Evans
      • Boycott Blues: How Rosa Parks Inspired a Nation by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illustrated by Brian Pinkney
      • Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and his Orchestra by Andrea Davis Pinkey, illustrated by Brian Pinkney
      • Ella Fitzgerald: The Tale of a Vocal Virtuosa by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illustrated by Brian Pinkney
      • Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illustrated by Brian Pinkney
      • Sojourner Truth’s Step-Stomping Stride by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illustrated by Brian Pinkney
      • A Day at the Museum by Christina Platt, illustrated by Sharon Sordo (chapter book)
      • Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold
      • Another by Christian Robinson
      • You Matter by Christian Robinson
      • Little Melba and her Big Trombone by Katheryn Russell-Brown, illustrated by Frank Morrison
      • Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly, illustrated by Laura Freeman
      • Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe
      • Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton by Don Tate
      • Be A King: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dream and You by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by James E. Ransom
      • Freedom in Congo Square by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
      • The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Rafael López
      • Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by E.B. Lewis
      • This is the Rope: A Story from the Great Migration by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by James E. Ransom
    • Middle Grade
      • Crossover by Kwame Alexander
      • Booked by Kwame Alexander
      • The Usual Suspect by Maurice Broaddus
      • New Kid by Jerry Craft
      • Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
      • Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis
      • The Watsons Go to Burmingham – 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis
      • Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper
      • Stella By Starlight by Sharon Draper
      • The Last-Last-Day of Summer by Lamar Giles
      • Great Greene Heist series by Varian Johnson
      • Robyn Hoodlum series by Kekla Magoon
      • Somewhere in the Darkness by Walter Dean Myers
      • Ghetto Cowboy by G. Neri
      • Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty by G. Neri
      • Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
      • Look Both Ways by Jason Reynolds
      • Miles Morales: Spider-Man by Jason Reynolds
      • Track series by Jason Reynolds
      • Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes
      • Louisiana Girls Trilogy by Jewell Parker Rhodes
      • Two Naomis by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich and Audrewy Vernick
      • Clean Getaway by Nic Stone
      • Logan series by Mildred D. Taylor
      • Gaither Sisters series by Rita Williams-Garcia
      • Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
      • Locomotion series by Jacqueline Woodson
      • Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson
    • Young Adult
      • Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
      • The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
      • With Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
      • Swing by Kwame Alexander
      • Solo by Kwame Alexander
      • Kendra by Coe Booth
      • Tyrell series by Coe Booth
      • Fist Stick Knife Gun: A Personal History of Violence, A True Story of Black and White by Geoffrey Canada, illustrated by Jamar Nicholas
      • The Belles series by Dhonielle Clayton
      • Tyler Johnson was Here by Jay Coles
      • Say Her Name by Zetta Elliott
      • Fresh Ink: An Anthology edited by Lamar Giles
      • Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes
      • Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson
      • Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson
      • A Certain October by Angela Johnson
      • First Part Last by Angela Johnson
      • I’m Not Dying With You Tonight by Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal
      • March series by John Lewis
      • How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon
      • Tyrell by Coe Booth
      • Dope Sick by Walter Dean Myers
      • It Ain’t All for Nonthin’ by Walter Dean Myers
      • Monster by Walter Dean Myers
      • Knockout Games by G. Neri
      • It’s Trevor Noah: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
      • All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
      • When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds
      • Dear Martin by Nic Stone
      • Odd One Out by Nic Stone
      • The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas
      • On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
      • Jumped by Rita Williams-Garcia
      • Beneath a Meth Moon by Jacqueline Woodson
      • The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
      • American Street by Ibi Zoboi

Educate ourselves about the system we are part of.

Talk about anti-racism. Speak up when others are being racist. Educators, teach about being anti-racist. This is your job–in order to support young people. Just so we are clear, this includes teachers in predominantly White classrooms.

Continue to listen to Black voices, do not stop educating yourself, and focus your learning on anti-racist ACTIONS. White Americans, if you feel exhausted, keep in mind that Black Americans don’t have opportunity to shut off the effects of racism. This is a privilege.

Educators, we must frame everything we do to be anti-racist.

What anti-racist work are you doing?


**Please note: These links have been widely shared on social media, and we curated them here and added many others to give them a concrete place. This is shared work.**

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