Freedom Inc. launches Black Sanctuary Pledge for MMSD teachers

MADISON, Wis. — A local social justice group is launching a campaign encouraging Madison teachers to pledge to support and protect students from marginalized communities.

Freedom Inc., an organization that works to uplift low- to no-income communities of color, shared a Facebook post Monday asking Madison Metropolitan School District teachers to sign the Black Sanctuary Pledge.

“Inspired by the powerful work of the Black Organizing Project in Oakland, California, Freedom, Inc. is launching the Black Sanctuary Pledge to ensure the safety and support for Black students, students of color, queer and trans youth, and youth with disabilities in our schools and community,” the post reads. “To help us protect the lives of students in the classroom and beyond.”

The pledge includes promises to “stand as an advocate and witness for students and parents threatened by any law enforcement agency,” “not call police on children,” “commit to a community led accountability process,” among other things.

Freedom Inc. Youth Justice Director Bianca Gomez said 24 educators have already signed the pledge.

“A lot of teachers say Black lives matter, a lot of teachers have Black Lives matter T-shirts and Black Lives Matter Facebook posts, and we wanted to take that a step further,” Gomez said. “This is committing to a process of accountability if you decide to harm Black students and their families. This is committing to decolonizing your curriculum, this is committed to training and professional development as an educator.”

Gomez said she would like more Madison educators and school staff to be advocates for students of color. The pledge can be signed by any school staff member in Madison.