Black Lives Matter Activism Materials, ‘1619 Project’ Promoted to Schools

Los Angeles Police Department commander Cory Palka stands among several destroyed police cars as one explodes while on fire during a protest over the death of George Floyd, Saturday, May 30, 2020, in Los Angeles.
Mark J. Terrill | AP

An email from a school counselor of the Plano, Texas, Independent School District (ISD) revealed that a “resource” being promoted to counselors includes Black Lives Matter activism materials and the New York Times’ “1619 Project,” which claims America was founded on slavery and racism.

According to Texas Scorecard, a publication of Empower Texans that promotes liberty and fiscal responsibility in the state, a special education counselor in the Plano school district shared with colleagues via email a resource created by Marva Robinson, Psy.D., a clinical psychologist who served as past president of the St. Louis Chapter of the Association of Black Psychologists.

Texas Scorecard noted the school counselor’s email, dated June 12, was “confirmed to be authentic.” The document shared by the counselor is titled, “Discussing Community Trauma in Response to Killings and Mistreatment of Black and Brown Americans,” which apparently accompanied a webinar titled, “Understanding the Black Experience in America: Be the Change You Want to See in the World.”

While Plano ISD Superintendent Sara Bonser informed Texas Scorecard the webinar “was not authorized, supported nor is it in use” by the district, the school counselor did attend the webinar, as likely did counselors from other school districts around the country.

Robinson’s bio for the National Youth Summit on Education Justice and Leadership states, “Her recent work to help address the pain of her community led her to become a respected clinician in her field.”

“A repeat guest on MSNBC and NPR, Dr. Robinson shares her insight on the role of a clinician in the midst of community turmoil,” the bio added.

The tool itself said it serves as “talking points for clinicians around community trauma.”

An example from the document states:

Scenario A: You have a client who brings up the subject of rioting, or police killings, or mentions any of the common names of black and brown people seen in the media (i.e. George Floyd, Christian Cooper, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery).

Provider recommended talking points:

– Tell me how you feel about it? What you’ve seen or heard about the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor or Ahmaud Arbery? Or the video of Christian Cooper and how he was treated?

– Does this bring up any feelings related to what our community experienced with [add anything specific to the community in which your patient (and you) lives]?

“Scenario B” concerns what counselors are urged to say if a client does not raise the subject of “recent community traumas”:

Provider recommended talking points:

– Before we end our conversation, I did want to check in with you to see if you wanted to talk about the recent community unrest over the recent shooting deaths of black and brown people?

– Before we end, I just wanted to see if there was anything else weighing on you that you’d like to discuss? Some of the clients have been pretty upset by the recent shootings of unarmed black and brown people and I wanted to give you the space to talk about that if you’d like?

– Before we end our conversation, I wanted to check in with you regarding reports in the news? Anything specific you would like to talk about? (this is the more neutral opening)

– I want to acknowledge the happenings in our country right now are impactful – yes, the pandemic, but more so this week with the horrific murder of George Floyd/the ongoing police brutality against African Americans.

In the section titled, “Things to be mindful of,” Robinson and her colleagues suggest to counselors, “Use words such as- killings or murders or death of an unarmed black person. To use words such as- incident, event, or misunderstanding, can come across as victim blaming.”

The Plano counselor’s email also contained a resource titled “Justice in June,” created by activists Autumn Gupta and Bryanna Wallace, and promoted as “a starting place for individuals trying to become better allies” of the black community.

The tool urges “allies” of Black Lives Matter to watch recommended videos, and read books and articles, including the Times’ “1619 Project,” “America’s Racial Contract Is Killing Us,” “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” and “The Case for Reparations.”

“Actions” recommended for new Black Lives Matter activists include:

  • Help reallocate city budgets by defunding the police
  • Google whether your city or town currently employs evidence-based police de-escalation training
  • Donate to 2 anti-white supremacy work such as your local Black Lives Matter Chapter, the National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls, the NAACP, Southern Poverty Law Center, United Negro College Fund, Black Youth Project 100, Color of Change, The Sentencing Project, Families against Mandatory Minimums

Also attached to the document is a “Master List of Black Revolutionary Readings” that includes: Marx’s Das Kapital for Beginners; Black Panther Ten Point Program; Marxism-Leninism Study Guide; The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx & Frederick Engels; Guerrilla Warfare by Che Guevara; Black Like Mao: Red China & Black Revolution.

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