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"Educate to End the Hate"

EL Education is celebrating Better World Day, an annual, national event showcasing student learning that contributes to a better world. Students present learning projects and engage in acts of service that demonstrate the power of EL Education’s vision for public school: a place where children become great scholars and active citizens with the capacity to make a positive impact. In this series, students and teachers from EL Education schools across the country share what Better World Day means to them.

Dylan Paris is an eighth-grade student at Brooklyn Collaborative Studies in Brooklyn, NY. Dylan is also a member of EL Education’s Student Advisory Council, a group of 12 students nationwide working to leverage their perspectives and experiences to improve education.

I am passionate about many social justice issues–LGBTQ+ rights, climate change, and poverty. However, I care most deeply about ending racism toward Black people who have faced centuries of slavery, segregation, discrimination, and police brutality. According to a recent poll from KFF.org, a nonpartisan nonprofit focusing on policy analysis and health journalism, “the vast majority (71%) of Black Americans say they’ve experienced some form of racial discrimination or mistreatment during their lifetimes – including nearly half (48%) who say at one point that they felt their life was in danger because of their race.” My idea of a better world is one in which we, the people, can stop this hate and have love and kindness for all people.

“My idea of a better world is one in which we, the people, can stop this hate and have love and kindness for all people.”

Dylan , 8th-grade student

Examine Black History, Understand Black Culture

I believe that the first step toward ending this hate is to educate Americans honestly about Black history and culture.

Over the last year, I learned a lot about slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction, segregation, police brutality, and the harmful stereotypes that the American government and law enforcement have held about Black people throughout history. I learned that between 2015 and 2020, “[t]he rate of fatal police shootings of unarmed Black people in the US [was] more than three times as high as it [was] among White people” (BMJ). I learned that racist stereotypes deeply rooted in America’s history have led to spreading false information about Black people.

But I also learned about Black peoples’ contributions to society, their accomplishments, and Black Joy. I learned about peaceful demonstrations and activists that stand up for Black Americans. I witnessed firsthand the impact of the Black Lives Matter movement and the powerful protests that happened after the murder of George Floyd. I watched the whole world come together to spread love and awareness about racism toward Black people. At my school, Brooklyn Collaborative Studies, we also have clubs and affinity groups where we talk about these issues and events, which leads to a deeper awareness and understanding of racism and its impact on Black Americans.

Take Compassionate Action that is Rooted in Knowledge

With deeper understanding comes deeper compassion. This compassion will help people take action and speak out when they see injustices like racism and police brutality against Black people. By continuing to learn while educating others to have love and kindness for other people, we will be able to break the cycle of hate and racism toward Black people in America.

*EL Education is proud to host diverse voices and offer a platform for dialogue on topics impacting educators and students. Views of guest bloggers are their own and may differ from the views of EL Education.

To hear more voices from EL Education school communities reflecting on Better World Day, discover blog posts from the series below.

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    Dylan Paris