Mount Abe to fly the BLM flag indefinitely

BRISTOL — The Black Lives Matter flag that flew at Mount Abraham Union Middle/High School for 30 days last November and December will be re-raised on Friday, Feb. 12 — this time indefinitely.
The move, which has support from the Mount Abraham Unified School District board and district administration, was approved unanimously last month by the school’s Community Council, after Mt. Abe Student Activism (MASA) collected more than 600 signatures from school and community members, including those of Addison-4 State Reps. Mari Cordes and Caleb Elder, and former Rep. David Sharpe.
“This organization-wide support demonstrates just how committed our community is to racial justice and student activism,” wrote school and student officials in a Feb. 9 media release.
Students viewed the flag raising as a first step among many.
“The Black Lives Matter flag at Mount Abraham is not a performative and temporary measure,” they wrote. “It is not a Band-Aid over centuries of oppression and racism. It is a sign of our commitment and a reminder to every student, educator or community member that sees it that respect for minority groups is an expectation in our building and that the destruction of oppressive systems and racist societal structures are all of our responsibilities.”
Along with the re-raising of the flag, MASA has committed to providing ongoing education about the Black Lives Matter movement and systemic racism.
In an email on behalf of MASA, Mount Abe Principal Shannon Warden outlined how such issues will be integrated into the learning environment.
“The Mt. Abraham Union Middle/High School community will continue to learn about culture and race through advisory and classes as a way to foster civil discourse among students and faculty that allow for reflective conversation,” Warden wrote.  “This learning supports our transferable skills of personal development and self-awareness, global citizenship and communication — reading, writing, speaking and listening — as well as the equity goal in the MAUSD strategic plan that states: ‘All MAUSD students will learn in equitable, culturally responsive, and inclusive environments.’”
Warden concluded her email with a poem by author and activist Micky ScottBey Jones, “An Invitation to Brave Space,” which was shared with the school community earlier this year.
“We have the responsibility to examine what we think we know,” Jones writes. “We will not be perfect. / This space will not be perfect. / It will not always be what we wish it to be / But / It will be our brave space together, / and / We will work on it side by side.”

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