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This is part of an ongoing series, “Learning while Black: The fight for equity in San Francisco schools,” being broadcast on KALW’s Crosscurrents. African American students across the country are much more likely than any other student group to be placed in special education, and that’s true at San Francisco Unified too. The district’s troubled history has plenty to teach us about what is and isn’t working for Black students with special needs today.
The 50th Anniversary Conference of the Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi) opened with a reverent and celebratory tribute to the ancestors and welcome to those present. Presented by Daktari Dance Medicine Collective, 50 dancers, drummers and cultural workers sprinkled medicine into the hearts and minds of those in the grand hall that night. From the welcome call, Fanga Alafia, to the “Invocation and Libation,” Diaspora dances Yanvalou, Parigol and Ogum and Spoken Medicine, the theme for the 50th Annual Conference “Building for Eternity,” June 27-July 1, 2018, was evoked, ratified and confirmed.
The UC Berkeley Black Student Union has demanded institutional changes to address the conditions of Black students. “Black people have been oppressed at this university since its creation,” declared BSU member Alana Banks. “The fact that we have to come up with demands for support ... is a testament to our condition. Regardless, I believe that we will win; and they believe that we will win too.”
Dr. V. Diane Woods is the architect of the California Reducing Disparities Project’s African American Strategic Workgroup report, “We Ain’t Crazy! Just Coping with a Crazy System,” which looks qualitatively and quantitatively at Black mental health in California and its blatant racialized disparities.