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BAILEY, Colo. – The Black Wall Street Times receives the 2022 Education Justice Award by the National Parents Union (NPU) for amplifying the experiences of several K-12 public school students and their families who faced profound discrimination while at school. Through a series of articles, the editors and journalists of The Black Wall Street Times brought a global audience to the table – effecting tangible change through the power of storytelling and community building.
“We are grateful, and frankly quite surprised, to receive the 2022 National Parents Union’s Education Justice Award,” said Nehemiah D. Frank, founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Black Wall Street Times. “We’ve been partnering with NPU since 2020 to ensure the broader community has the opportunity to learn about the day-to-day issues students face, including racism, discrimination, and inequity in the classroom.
Through The Black Wall Street Times and the National Parents Union’s joint partnership, several families were finally able to gain traction in their pursuit of justice for their children. By providing the opportunity and platform to share their experiences, allies around the United States and abroad came together to support the calls for action, justice and restitution.
“Our motto is and will always be ‘Access is the New Civil Right’, which includes access to community-centered press who have the ability to uplift stories to both local and national audiences,” Frank said. “Parents and all families of young people have a right to be heard just as much, if not more, than school administrations. This is how we create more transparency in society.”
In 2021, The Black Wall Street Times contributing writer Sarah Gray broke two quickly-global stories uncovering the cultural assault and systemic mistreatment of young Black and Afro-Indigenous students in Michigan. Titled “7-year-old girl traumatized after White school staff member cuts her hair,” the first article resulted in hundreds of supporters around the world demanding the school district answer for the cruelty of their staff. In the second article, “Black 11-year-old strip-searched, locked in holding cell at school by a teacher,” a new national and global community of support was formed for the family who had long been ignored by those in power in the school district.
“These stories, while painful to read and report on, have the ability to heal entire communities,” Gray said. “At the center of our stories and deep in the roots of The Black Wall Street Times is a commitment to justice. Invisibility in the press, history books and research is wielded violently against our communities. The fact that these two articles reached global audiences is a small, yet significant step towards a more just and equitable world for our peoples.”
The Black Wall Street Times’ education justice advocacy expanded in 2022 to include live-tweeting and streaming during local school board and city council meetings throughout Oklahoma. The expansion was a natural next step for the organization and brings pertinent information to the public faster than ever.
Spearheading the newest digital reporting leg of The Black Wall Street Times is staff writer Mike Creef. “Reporting live from school board meetings has opened my eyes to the seriousness of the discussions being had and decisions being made on behalf of Oklahoma families,” Creef said. “One of the best ways I can support parents in Oklahoma is by showing up to school board meetings and community meetings hosted by school board members and relaying exactly what is being said and how elected officials are voting. Many parents are not able to make these meetings and stay as informed as they’d like because they are balancing so much. Communities are stronger when families are informed, and they deserve access to the agendas set and pushed at these meetings.”
“Parents and families across the United States have no greater ally in our fight for education justice than the Black Wall Street Times. Their work has ensured that our voices are heard loud and clear as we fight to ensure that our children get the equitable outcomes they deserve without being victimized and traumatized by the swirling political firestorms that are leaving our children in the crossfire. The Black Wall Street Times has been on the front lines of courageously speaking the truth and being unapologetic in their quest for justice for our communities.,” National Parents Union President Keri Rodriguez said.
Additionally, The Black Wall Street Times has played a pivotal role in pushing school districts to change the names of school buildings honoring Confederate soldiers and instead recognizing American heroes, including Dolores Huerta Elementary, Wayman Tisdale Fine Arts Academy, and John Hope Franklin Elementary schools.
“My hope is that more press will continue to see the important role parents’ voices play in improving transparency, accountability and justice in our schools,” Frank added. “The positive impact is undeniable.”