Megan Torres and Janelle Faison stood up to their children’s private Montessori school in 2019 after the director locked herself and Janelle’s four-year-old child in a room the size of a closet.
Prior to this incident, Megan’s 6-year-old son was asked to leave the school mid-year. Megan’s son’s contract was canceled by the Director the same day Megan complained of intimidation and tone policing from a different administrator, a woman of color.
The abrupt timing of this dismissal resulted in the loss of over $50k in state-issued scholarship funds for Megan’s son. Despite Ohio Senator Maharath making a statement to reconsider the scholarship due to concerns of bias, and a former teacher alleging bias, the state agency in charge of the scholarship and finally, governor Mike DeWine denied reconsideration. (It’s worth noting that DeWine’s communication advisor is on the school board of directors and that the Director of the Montessori worked in the past as the Assistant Bureau Chief of the Childcare Division at the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, the same division charged with investigating the alleged misconduct involving one of the children.)
With the help of local organizers, both mothers held a protest on the first day of school to draw attention to the use of seclusion in schools and tone policing Black women. They rallied a robust antiracist online community using the hashtag #weseeCMEC to highlight unfair and often unconscious bias from white people that cause trauma for Black parents and children at school. Their story was picked up by NPR. Megan’s story used as a case study for unconscious bias at last year’s American Montessori Society national conference by Montessorians for Social Justice.
Their story is a case study for bystanders in what to do (and what not to do) when you find yourself observing blatant injustice.
EbonyJanice is the founder of Black Girl Mixtape, a multi-platform safe think-space, centering the intellectual authority of black women in the form of a lecture series, a podcast, and an online learning institute lead by black women scholars. Learn more at her website www.thefreepeopleproject.com
In this episode, Myisha T from Check Your Privilege joins Jen to discuss the book How To Be Less Stupid About Race by Crystal M. Fleming. The book is a must-read for anyone stepping into anti-racism work. Listen in as Jen and Myisha talk about their own experiences in anti-racism conversations and share their takeaways from the book.
An excerpt from the Beacon Press Website sums it up well: “Fleming unveils how systemic racism exposes us all to racial ignorance—and provides a road map for transforming our knowledge into concrete social change.”
We are reposting several of our favorite episodes, and this one is from a conversation with Andre Henry.
Andre is a writer and speaker with a passion for racial justice. He writes a weekly email giving practical insight on antiracism and nonviolent social change.
In this episode, Andre joins Jen to talk about the power of everyday people, the importance of doing the work to create the world we want to see, why hope is essential in this movement, and how people can come together to build the world they want to live in.
Join the Hope and Hard Pills Community at andrehenry.co
…Alternatively Titled: “Hello Chelsea, It’s Tina and Jen, Let’s Talk About Your Privilege”
On Friday, September 13th, Chelsea Handler released a documentary on Netflix called “Hello Privilege, It’s Me, Chelsea.” Being the anti-racism educator she is, Tina Strawn decided to check it out, and within days Tina and Jen had watched the documentary two times, talked about it over the phone, and decided to do a podcast discussing it.
If you’ve watched the documentary, plan on watching the documentary, or have absolutely no interest in watching the documentary- this episode is an essential listen as Tina challenges us to greater depth and accountability in the work of dismantling white supremacy and privilege.
Be sure to follow Tina Strawn on IG @tina_strawn_life or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org