For Immediate Release:
Black Student Union Demands
Contact: Berkeley High School Black Student Union
In light of the terroristic messages left on a Berkeley High School Computer on November 4, 2015, and the continued instances of systemic and interpersonal racism that plague our school, the Berkeley High School Black Student Union is issuing the following demands to the site administrators of Berkley High School and the Berkeley School Board.
- WE DEMAND that history curriculum for grades K-12 be amended to cover Black history and an accurate view of colonialism. We demand that this curriculum include African history up into the present day, the history of Black people in the Americas; including, but not limited to enslavement, the Civil Rights movement, and historically significant Black people outside of equality movements. We demand that Black history be taught as an important and relevant piece of world history rather than its own independent subject that is relegated to a semester of Ethnic Studies. It is essential that Black students are educated on their history in its entirety. We as Black students cannot be expected to excel in an institution that gives us knowledge with which we can only see our ancestors as slaves. Moreover it is insulting to condense all history of non-White people into an Ethnic Studies class, and in order to properly educate students the Berkeley Unified School District must work to integrate what is now considered “Ethnic Studies” into the a-g curriculum.
- WE DEMAND full funding of the Berkeley High School African American Studies Department. We demand that this funding allow for the continuation and betterment of all currently running programs. The Black Studies department is a resource from which Black students can learn about our history and culture in a district that rarely gives us opportunities to do so.
- WE DEMAND the creation of an on campus Black Resource Center. We demand that this center be funded by the Berkeley Unified School District general fund and not Measures A, BB, H, or I. The Black Resource Center would be a location in which Black students can congregate and be directed towards on campus support for any issue that we may face. This center would become a permanent school fixture until Black students regularly have the same test scores as, and are graduating at the same rate as, White students.
- WE DEMAND the immediate creation of a committee with the sole focus of recruiting and retaining Black staff and faculty throughout all of the Berkeley Unified School District. We demand that this committee include representatives from Berkeley Elementary, Middle, and High Schools along with members of the Berkeley High School Black Student Union. We expect a preliminary list of recommendations to be submitted to the School Board and the Berkeley High School Black Student Union by February 29, 2016.
- WE DEMAND comprehensive racial sensitivity training for all Berkeley High School faculty and staff. We demand that classified staff be included in this training so that every adult on the Berkeley High School campus has an understanding of race and racism. We demand that this training be ongoing and that it not be limited to a singular Professional Development Day. Black students cannot be expected to feel safe in our classrooms or on our campus if Berkeley High School staff is not equipped to discuss or handle issues of racism and racial bias.
- WE DEMAND that all of our demands be put into the process of implementation within the next 3-6 months and that the Superintendent gives us an official response no later than December 16th.