Facing Race: A National Conference in St. Louis, MO — November 20-22, 2024

Jessica Black

Advancement Project

Jessica is a Minnesota native with a passion for social justice and cultural interpretation.  A mother of two, Jessica came to California in 2013 in order to reconnect with family.

For 10 years, as the Education Systems Navigator at the Cultural Wellness Center in Minnesota, Jessica worked to further enhance her skills of strategic planning, collective communication, shared authority and motivational speaking. Jessica has worked to dismantle unequal systematic approaches in housing, employment, education and criminal justice institutions for many years.

Jessica embraces and is guided by the elders within her community. These relationships aid her in recruiting and organizing Black parents, to encourage their involvement in schools, and influencing policy, procedures, and paradigm shifts. Ultimately, Jessica’s passion to help Black people recognize the power and potential they possess led her to BOP. Through BOP Jessica hopes to continue her journey of achieving equitable access for Black people

Presentations from Facing Race 2022

Sankofa: Learning From our Past to Build a #PoliceFreeSchools Future

Incorporating the concept of Sankofa, timelines help us to understand how our struggle for education justice has developed over time, connect our organizing to other movements, and assess the future of our struggle. This workshop will present the National Campaign for Police Free Schools’ (convened by the Alliance for Educational Justice and the Advancement Project National Office) timeline and assessments on school policing over the past 80+ years, understanding that abolition is a multi-generational project.

School policing is inextricably linked to this country’s long history of oppressing and criminalizing Black and Brown people and represents a belief that people of color need to be controlled and intimidated.

The timeline demonstrates that the school-to-prison pipeline was a delayed response by the state to Black and Brown student organizing, and is an extension of the laws, policies, and practices of street policing in Black and Brown communities. As we began to form a movement to end the school-to-prison pipeline, as we began to win (ending zero-tolerance policies, acquiring suspension and arrest data, securing pilot restorative justice programs and funds) the system adjusted, increasing police presence in schools.

Workshop participants will understand this history, reflect on their own personal timelines as history makers, and reflect on future trends in school policing as the system continues to adjust – including the rapid expansion of school surveillance as part of the school policing infrastructure.

Speakers: Saudia Durrant, Jessica Black, Ashley Sawyer