Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter

There are two videos to choose from to learn about Black Lives Matter.

The first one is better for younger kids, the second one will appeal to older kids. Feel free to watch one, or both!

You may see a number of other videos that are a deeper dive into things you might be interested in. Feel free to watch as many of those as you like. Then choose some activities and/or a project.

High school students or any student who wants to dig deeper, continue your study with one of the advanced learning projects in the Projects section.

WARNING: Learning about police brutality and systemic racism is hard. Some content in this block may be difficult for young viewers to process.

If you are young, sensitive and easily affected by violence, then you should check with your grown ups before going any further. If you are Black and feel that you need support or just someone to talk to, the following organizations are available for you:

  • CANADA: Black Youth Helpline 1-833-294-8650
  • USA: National Youth Crisis Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • UK: Childline: 0800 1111 www.childline.org.uk

Take A Deeper Dive!

Activities

Colour a Black Youth Matter Poster

It can be really difficult to learn about anti-Black racism and police brutality. It’s important to spend time sitting with our feelings as we reflect on hard truths. In this project, you will have the chance to thoughtfully colour in a poster which celebrates that Black youth matter.

You will need: 

  • A printout of this poster from Black Lives Matter At School,
  • Crayons, markers, or coloured pencils

As you colour in your poster, think about all the ways in which Black youth MATTER to our communities. Spend a few minutes reflecting on how learning about racism and anti-racist activism makes you feel. Do you feel sad? Angry? Hopeful?

When you are done with your poster, you might like to hang it up in your room or in a window. Take a photo of your work for your portfolio.

A Letter to the Family Members of George Floyd

In the summer of 2020, the unjustified and violent death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers created a critical peak in the Black Lives Matter movement for social justice.

Outraged people in cities all over the USA and the world protested against this senseless act of violence and police brutality.

Perhaps you went to a demonstration, watched coverage on the news or read about it online. Did you have a conversation with the adults in your life about what was going on?

For most kids, this was really difficult to process and may have felt scary, stressful, confusing or sad.

One of the ways to get through those big emotions is to get them all out on paper. Writing a letter about a tough situation is a great way to work through your feelings, show empathy, grow and learn. 

This printable template from Colorfulpages.org creates a space for you to write a letter to the family members of George Floyd.

After you’ve written your letter to the family of George Floyd, make a video reading it aloud and then mail it to the address indicated.

When you’ve finished, please upload the written and oral project to your portfolio.

Meet the Youth Activists Inspired by Black Lives Matter

Inspired by Black organizers, these youth found ways to raise awareness about racism in their communities! First, watch the video above to learn what they did.

Next, think about ways that YOU can make a difference in the fight against racism. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Make a sign for your window or lawn! Choose words or pictures that communicate a message of equity and justice.
  • Organize an event in your neighbourhood or city to raise awareness about racism. You may want to work with a group of friends to make it happen. Whether you have a few people or a crowd, you can make a difference!
  • Design a t-shirt with an anti-racist message.
  • If you are on social media, use your voice to post a message that Black lives matter to you.

Whatever you choose, take a photo and include it in your portfolio.

Project

Make an Anti-Racist Mural

Within protest movements, art is a powerful tool for communicating the passion behind a cause. Many artists throughout history have used art to critique systemic racism and to challenge white supremacy. Murals and other types of street art or public art can be an amazing way to get a message across to large numbers of people with maximum impact! If you would like to try creating your own anti-racist mural, there are several steps:

Do the design work on a small scale, either on paper or digitally.

Then, blow it up. You might do a “small” mural, on a roll of industrial sized paper, or a piece of plywood. Or, you might be able to find a space to take your mural larger than life, on the side of a building, for example. You may be inspired by the image above, which was done (safely, with roadblocks) on a city street.

When designing your mural think about:

  • Who is important to bring attention to? Do you want to feature victims of police brutality? Founders of Black Lives Matter? Or make a critical piece about a perpetrator of racist violence?
  • What emotion do you want to convey? Sadness? Anger? Shame? Strength? Or something else?
  • What colours are appropriate for your message? Do certain colours evoke specific emotions? Will some be easier to see under varying lighting conditions outdoors?
  • What style will you use? Remember that if you are not Black, it’s not appropriate to try to copy styles which originated within the Black community. Try to bring your own personal style, while also considering how the style you choose will impact the message of the artwork.
  • If you like, you can write a short artist’s statement describing the meaning behind your artwork and the choices you made in how it was created.

Include a description of your mural and photos in your portfolio.

Advanced Project

Black Lives Matter originated in 2013 in response to the killing of Trayvon Martin who was only seventeen years old. Since then, it has grown into a global movement against white supremacy. This video outlines the history of #BlackLivesMatter.

What Does BLM Want, Exactly?

In the age of social media, we are flooded with information and misinformation, especially on controversial topics. One way to cut through the noise is to go straight to the source: visit the Black Lives Matter website yourself to understand its vision and what it is working toward.

Step One: Click here to learn about BLM and its values.

How do these statements feel to you? Is there anything you aren’t sure about or that you don’t understand? Do you want to learn more?

Step Two: Visit BLM’s List of Demands to understand what actions Black Lives Matter is currently seeking. Some of these demands may feel confusing or challenging. Do you agree with what BLM is demanding? Would you consider supporting their work? Why or why not?

Books

Click on a book to buy it from Amazon. Or, you can ask for them at your local library.

Read Aloud Books