We need Black teachers. We need them more than ever. We need them now. 

The Center for Black Educator Development is doing something about it. They’ve launched the expansive new #WeNeedBlackTeachers campaign to diversify the educator pipeline and make sure Black students see themselves represented in the teaching force so they can reach their full potential. They can only do that in affirming educational spaces. So let’s give them those spaces.

On Thursday, September 9, they officially launched the campaign with a Day of Action. But that’s not a deadline. It’s a start. You can still add your voice:

On the latest episode of Building the Black Educator Pipeline, host Shayna Terrell brought on the Center’s founder, Sharif El-Mekki, and Director of Strategic Partnerships, Mimi Woldeyohannes, to celebrate the Day of Action and what comes next to make thriving Black educators the norm in our country. 

Watch the full episode below or over at our Facebook page.

Pure Activism

“The purest form of activism is teaching Black children well,” El-Mekki said is the core of the #WeNeedBlackTeachers campaign.

After all, research shows Black students are 13% more likely to graduate from high school and enroll in college if they’ve had one Black teacher in elementary school and 32% more likely if they’ve had multiple. The impact is even more stark for Black boys. Black students are three times as likely to be identified as gifted if they have a Black teacher.

But how do you convince Black young adults to study education and become teachers? Woldeyohannes had a suggestion for how to approach that conversation. 

“Some people like to frame it as ‘be the educator you know that you needed’ and I think that’s exactly the way to look at the work,” she said.

She said this framing can and must be used to speak with even the youngest students, to empower them and their families to demand better for their school communities. 

“Be mindful of the messages our children are receiving,” she said. “Realize that we need more windows and mirrors, and encourage youth to become educators.”

Shayna knows young people are eager to make change. 

“Young people want to be involved, what’s lacking is the political education, teaching them about how to organize and be involved,” she said

Keep Spreading the Word

This is exciting, right? The Maya Angelou estate sure thinks so.  

Musicians, too. Like the Grammy-nominated Stokley. 

Former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is all in. 

Our youngest brightbeam activist, Zooming in w/ Gen Z host Haley Taylor Schlitz, is all aboard. She’s getting her fellow college students excited about education through the #WeNeedBlackTeachers campaign, too. 

Want to join them? Head to the #WeNeedBlackTeachers trending page on Twitter and tell your stories about the Black educators who influenced you. Tag the Center for Black Educator Development, @CenterBlackEd, to spread the word. More actions will be coming so keep your eyes peeled on this hashtag and account. 

In the meantime, be sure to follow us on YouTube and Facebook so you don’t miss an episode of Building the Black Educator Pipeline. 


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