Black lives matter. This includes Black educators. Too many times, Black excellence is not recognized. Research has shown that having a Black teacher is beneficial to not only Black students but for all students. A simple thank you or recognition could make the difference in a Black educator’s life and keep him or her in the school setting. With this thought in mind, the African American Excellence in Education Awards were born.
Emil Ekiyor, former Indianpolis Chapter of Indiana Black Expo president, brought this idea to life. During the past three years, 200 Black educators were recognized. This year marks the fourth annual event. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the awards committee which includes represenatives from Indiana Black Expo, Educate Me, the Indianapolis Recorder and Indy K12, felt it was critical the awards take place this year especially with conversations about race and the need to change our society, so it is clear that Black lives really do matter.
Schools cannot operate with teachers alone. This award recognizes the achievements of Black school staff regardless of role. This could include but is not limited to teachers, administrators, cafeteria staff and bus drivers. This year the awards program will be virtual and will be livestreamed on the Indianapolis Recorder’s Facebook page at noon July 18.
The teacher turnover rate is higher if the teacher happens to be Black. Recognition of the hard work done by Black educators is one lever that can be pulled to help retain educators. Being overlooked is the experience that is all too common for some Black educators. Despite being overlooked, they still show up with Black excellence even while sometimes being in hostile work environments. Despite this, they stay for the children.
There is a powerful feeling to be recognized by your community. It makes all the blood sweat and tears worth it. Please consider watching the awards ceremony so you can learn about the Black excellence in school across our state.
To attend this year's event, please register today.