Things That Matter

A White Woman Is Suing Two Black Teachers Claiming Reverse Racism After She Banned Black History Lessons

For the past several years, the country’s educational system has been challenged over what students should be learning in school and, for a good reason. The classes, in particular, history, are antiquated and, even more importantly, incorrect. As a society, we’ve been taught a white version of America’s history, and it’s only when we get to college or continue our studies elsewhere that we begin to discover the truth. But little by little, through education reform, teachers are attempting to change that in order to teach students about the real America and how their ancestors make up the fabric of this country. Some, however, in power positions don’t want that. 

A legal battle has ensued between a Bronx principal and teachers in which both parties are calling each other racist.

Credit: @TravelsWithTony / Twitter

The issue between these two parties began in 2018 when Mercedes Liriano, a teacher at Bronx Intermediate School 224, began teaching her sixth graders about the Harlem Renaissance in her art class during Black History Month. 

Patricia Catania, a white principal of that school at the time, told her to stop the lesson immediately. She took away posters that students were carrying that depicted the image of singer Lena Horne. Catania said that Liriano didn’t approve her lesson plan for Black History Month, but Liriano, a black teacher, said she submitted her entire lesson plan for the year. Furthermore, in an interview with the Washington Post, Liriano said that she has been teaching those lessons during Black History Month for the past 14 years. 

Teachers and parents were so appalled that the principal would prevent the teacher from teaching the Harlem Renaissance during Black History Month that they protested the matter.

Credit: YouTube

The matter last year garnered national attention, and many high-profile black activists got involved. 

“We’re learning about slavery and Harriet Tubman, but she says that I’m an ELA teacher and therefore should not be teaching that,” Liriano said last year to a local news station. “But it’s part of the New York state curriculum.”

While the school board investigated the matter, Catania continued to work at the school. This June, however, Catania got a demotion and was moved to another school just a mile away. She became the assistant principal at a different school. 

Now, months after her demotion, the former principal has filed a lawsuit against three black teachers and the union because she says they falsely accused her of being racist and claims they discriminated against her.

Credit: National Black United Front / Facebook

“There is literally not a racist thought in my head, nor a racist molecule in my body, nor have I ever made a racist comment, or acted in a racist manner in my life,” Catania said in a sworn deposition.

Her lawyer adds, “She’s been portrayed as the villain, but she’s really the victim here,” Anthony Gentile, Catania’s lawyer, said in an interview with the Post. “It was racism, pure and simple, [even though] some people may not see her as sympathetic as when this happens to a brown-skinned person.”

Liriano wrote on Twitter, “Reverse racism does not exist when we were not or have ever been the oppressors! All I have ever done was instill PRIDE! in my students! My children! By teaching them about their rich culture and true stories!!”

We shall see how this matter plays out in court. 

Last year, another Bronx school official was also investigated after she made some of her black students act as slaves so they could endure what they did.

Credit: YouTube

Teacher Patricia Cummings at another Bronx school had some of her black students lay on the floor to reenact a “slave trade — and then stepped on their backs to show them what slavery felt like,” The New York Daily News reports.An investigation found that she didn’t do everything she was accused of. She was still fired, and she is also suing the school board for a billion dollars. Yes, you read that right. 

“They’re on the record for saying the reason I’m being terminated is because of my performance as an educator and the report,” Cummings said according to ABC News. “My performance as an educator, I’ve been rated effective by the Department of Education. I’m an effective teacher.”

READ: Students At This High School Apparently Thought It Was OK To Drag A Black Mannequin By A Rope At Their Homecoming Game

Congressman Steve King Of Iowa, Known For Racist Comments, Loses To Republican Challenger In Primary

Things That Matter

Congressman Steve King Of Iowa, Known For Racist Comments, Loses To Republican Challenger In Primary

Alex Wong / Getty Images

You might remember Representative Steve King of Iowa as the person who’s campaign attacked Parkland shooting survivor Emma González. The Republican politician is officially out of Congress after losing to Iowa State Senator Randy Feenstra.

Iowa Senator Randy Feenstra defeated Representative Steve King in the Republican primary in Iowa.

Sen. Feenstra defeated Rep. King by 9.7 points ending the incumbent’s career after 18 years. Rep. King will still be a member of Congress during the remainder of the election as Republican Sen. Feenstra goes against Democrat J.D. Scholten. Scholten almost defeated Rep. King in 2018.

Rep. King’s controversial and offensive attitude led to his colleagues stripping him of his committee roles.

Rep. King was shunned by the Republican Party in 2019. The Congressman asked in an interview with The New York Times, “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”

The language was enough to draw harsh criticism from members of his party. He was stripped of all of his committee assignments because of the comments.

Rep. King has a long history of racist comments.

In 2016, Rep. King was on tv when he asked if nonwhite groups have contributed to society. The comments were met with instant criticism from people denouncing the racist comments.

“This whole ‘old white people’ business does get a little tired, Charlie,” Rep. King said on a panel. “I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you are talking about? Where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?”

People are happy to see Rep. King lose his primary race.

There has been a movement to change politicians. It was clear in the 2018 elections that Americans wanted different representation when Democrats flipped enough seats in the House of Representatives to hold a majority over the Republicans. Rep. King is the latest in controversial Republican politicians to be voted out by upset constituents.

READ: AOC Called Out Rep. Steve King For Willfully Risking Pink Eye Instead Of Admitting Migrants Deserve Better Treatment

A Florida Teen Has Overcome Immense Obstacles, Including Homelessness, To Become His School’s Valedictorian

Things That Matter

A Florida Teen Has Overcome Immense Obstacles, Including Homelessness, To Become His School’s Valedictorian

Martin Folsom / Facebook

Right now we are in the midst of so much change. There is so much going on in the world – from a global pandemic that has left millions of us in social isolation to a brand new social justice movement in the wake of murder of unarmed Black men.

We’re being bombarded with so much serious news, it’s hard to remember that there are still people out there leading powerful, incredible lives and making a difference.

One Florida teen has overcome all the odds, including years of homeless, to graduate from his high school as valedictorian and we need to celebrate and recognize this huge accomplishment.

Martin Folsom graduated at the top of his class after struggling through years of homelessness.

Since he was a child, Martin Folsom and his mother Melva have been in and out of homelessness, according to Jacksonville television station WJXT.

Despite all the challenges he faced through the years, Folsom managed to keep his focus on his studies — and his efforts paid off when he was named his class’ valedictorian and graduated from Philip Randolph Career Academy in Jacksonville, FL.

“It kind of gave me a jolt in my chest a little bit, so it was a good feeling,” Folsom said in a video interview shared by KTRK. “It means a lot and it gives me a sense of all I’ve done and all I have accomplished was worth it.”

After college – Martin plans to attend Valdosta State University – he hopes to one day work for the FBI.

Martin credits his mom’s dedication and compassion for helping him succeed.

During his time in high school, Martin’s mom recalled desperately searching for a place to live with her son.

“Martin and I were in downtown McDonald’s and literally had nowhere to go,” she shared with WJXT. “I was on the phone calling people, calling organizations, and by the grace of God, we got into a shelter that day.”

Even with an uncertain living situation, Martin didn’t let that affect his studies.

“I never thought to myself, ‘I can’t do this anymore’ or ‘I’m done with this,'” explained the teen, who served as class president from freshman year through senior year. “It’s always been, ‘Well, it happened again and I’ve gotta keep myself up and keep moving forward.'”

He was set to walk across the stage last week for graduation, but that was canceled due to the pandemic.

Still, he isn’t letting that damper his spirits — especially since Martin had to overcome hurdle after hurdle to earn the high honor. He and his mom have struggled with homelessness since he was a kid, and throughout his four years of high school. They became homeless while fleeing Melva’s ex-husband, who has since been sentenced to 40 years in prison for murder.

Within two years, the mother and son reportedly lived in different shelters across five states before setting in Jacksonville.

“It’s been a rocky road, been a lot of hardships, but seeing myself here right now, about to graduate and go to college, it feels good knowing that all the stuff I’ve done, it was worth it,” Martin said.

He served as the class president for his grade for four years straight, from 9th grade to 12th grade. Now he will go on to college in the fall — and says that will be a big day for his family.

“As far as I know I’m the first person in my family to actually get a college degree,” he said.