In light of the 194th Black person killed by police in 2016, many people are looking for a way to respond. As a white, 25-year old woman, the best advice I have received is to listen. Listen and genuinely seek to understand what it's like to be Black in America. Listen, engage in non-violent protest, use your privilege to bring attention to the issues and why they affect all people.
After a while, however, Facebook advocacy can feel tired and not nearly enough. Enter this crowd-sourcing project. In the year 2000, along with many of my elementary school classmates, I participated in the Black Saga Competition in Baltimore, MD. Developed by Dr. Charles M. Christian in 1992, The Black Saga Competition is a year-long team learning experience and competition for elementary and middle school students in Maryland to engage with a comprehensive history of Black America. Studying for Black Saga created an opportunity for conversations in my house around race, the historical context of exploitation and oppression of people of color in America, and how being white provides me with protections that people of color don't have. This was a very impactful experience for my 10-year-old self and has helped me to process what is happening in the world today. At the end of the year, my two teammates and I became the elementary school state champions and were each awarded $300. Fifteen years later, I am hoping to pay it forward to a new generation of students.
In recent years, the Black Saga Competition has downsized from a state-wide competition to supporting many school-based competitions due to funding limitations. However, the program is still going strong, currently looking for sustainable sponsorships and developing a licensing process to take the competition nation-wide.
If you are looking for a concrete way to support children engaging with history and developing a more complete perspective on race in America, I invite you to support the Black Saga Competition.
From Dr. Charles M. Christian, author of Black Saga: The African American Experience and Found of the Black Saga Competition:
"Over the years, I have been sincerely blessed to work with so many wonderful teachers, principals, and administrators. Your support of the Black Saga Competition has been incredible. During our 20 or so years, we have introduced the African American experience to more than 75,000 students, parents, teachers, principals, and supporters . . . and we have done it in the most unintrusive and unintimidating way—a competition. It could not have happened without your support of the Competition and your unwavering dedication to helping students maximize their learning potential and becoming competitive in their knowledge of the African American experience."
To learn more about the Black Saga Competition, please visit: http://blacksaga.org/index.php