Friday, February 8, 2019

Mariner High School Step Team, I Love You

In local news, some people in Marysville, Washington were super offended by a performance by the Mariner High School step team that appeared to have the theme of Black Lives Matter. These kids were actually brought in to be part of an assembly at the Marysville-Pilchuck High School, and afterward the principal sent out an official statement apologizing for it in a very "all lives matter" kind of way.

Watching the video of the performance, I have difficulty understanding what the kids are shouting, but it sounds like near the end the kids are shouting out names of black individuals who have been killed by police in recent years such as Michael Brown and Freddie Gray. They then exit chanting "hands up, for justice."

The performance is impressive and well-coordinated. The kids are wearing black step team shirts with camo pants and most of the students are Black. In the background, the classic raised fist symbol is on a large screen.

These kids did an incredibly brave and important thing and the response by the Marysville-Pilchuck principal is gross.

"We believe that debate and discussion grounded in research and facts is imperative to providing our students the tools and skills necessary to be successful in our ever-changing world," he wrote. "We will continue to provide our students opportunities to debate and engage in controversial topics because this is at the heart of how positive change and innovation happens. We will take better notice of the development and delivery of programs for students to make sure that the outcomes of the programs are not skewed by the delivery of the lesson."

What about this performance says to you that any part of these kids' education was skewed? I highly doubt that the step team created this routine because of anything they learned in school, and declaring that black lives matter is not some kind of biased statement. Justice is not up for debate.

I'm so impressed by the kids in this video. Watching them made me realize that the older I get, the more I love kids. It made me wish that I could go back in time with the knowledge I have now so that I could engage in actions like this and support my classmates of color. Teens are doing incredible things right now despite having to fear retribution by adults who hold significant power over them. And I want to use my power as an adult to protect them at all costs. Kids like these are one of the precious few reasons (and by far the biggest reason) I have any hope for the future.

I support the Mariner High School step team 100%. You kids are doing amazing and I love you.

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