Philadelphia teachers wear Black Lives Matter shirts during week of action. Photo credit: Caucus of Working Educators

The inspiration came from 2000 public school teachers in Seattle, who, last fall, wore “Black Lives Matter” shirts to spark conversation about the movement with their students.

The Seattle effort motivated a group of teachers to organize a similar endeavor in Philadelphia, a collaboration between the Caucus of Working Educators, part of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, and the Teacher Action Group. The effort, which kicked off this past Monday and continued all week, has been endorsed by the Philadelphia chapter of Black Lives Matter.

Teachers have been wearing Black Lives Matter t-shirts and buttons this past week at over 100 participating schools throughout the Philadelphia region. They developed a curriculum based on Black Lives Matter’s 13 guiding principles and organized a series of public events during the week. Teachers held discussions and gave lessons on social and racial justice. The Caucus of Working Educators compiled the curriculum as well as teaching resources, an events calendar, and a set of FAQs for teachers to consult for navigating difficult conversations about race.

Councilwoman Helen Gym with teachers wearing Black Lives Matter shirts. Photo credit: Caucus of Working Educators

Hundreds of educators, parents, and community members have been sharing photos of themselves wearing Black Lives Matter t-shirts and buttons on social media.

While the movement has been inspirational for the most part and attracted a lot of positive attention, it has also seen some pushback.

The efforts don’t end here, of course. On Saturday, the closing panel will address the question, “Next Steps: How does the work continue beyond Black Lives Matter week?” Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins will speak at the panel.

A couple dozen organizations have endorsed the week of action. As has longtime education activist, Councilwoman Helen Gym.

A week of inspiring discussion about Black Lives Matter in Philly schools