Black Teachers Matter

Black Teachers Matter (BTM) is a local KSU student organization that is championed by Jillian Ford, associate professor of social studies education; Lateefa Id-Deen, associate professor of elementary mathematics education; and Marrielle Myers, associate professor of mathematics education. The BTM vision is “a world where Black education is acknowledged, explored and celebrated.”  

The group’s mission is “to help educators navigate and center a variety of Black perspectives in the field of education as well as challenge system norms. BTM strives to provide opportunities to build community, engage in productive dialogue, and conduct research while examining critical issues pertaining to Black Education.”

This active group of future educators held several events on campus, sponsored fundraisers, and provided community service at a local school. Since its inception, the group has been for undergraduates, but they received a grant to begin an induction group for BTM alumni during the 2023-2024 school year.  

Members enjoy the many social and educational experiences that BTM provides.  One member said that growing up, she never had an African American teacher, and she joined BTM because “I felt like I can relate to it because it promotes Black educators.”  Another member said “I like that BTM is very inclusive. I definitely felt heard, which made me keep showing up, because I didn’t feel ignored anymore. So that was probably the greatest thing that BTM gave me.”

For the last two years, BTM has held a Sankofa Celebration to honor the graduating seniors. The word Sankofa means “to retrieve” in the Akan Twi language – that “it is not taboo to go back for what is at risk of being left behind.”  Students’ families attend, and during this time, graduates are given encouraging messages, they reflect on their experiences in BTM, they engage in a Water Ceremony, and are presented with gift bags.  This tradition commemorates the triumphs and achievements of our Black teacher candidates. Drs. Ford, Id-Deen and Myers are incredibly proud of these students and the life-long community they have created through Black Teachers Matter.