The quote above, although given in 1964, has not become irrelevant. It is no secret that the American public school system is not a nurturing or empowering space for Black students. From biased and misleading textbooks to disproportionate disciplinary actions, the struggle our youth suffer during their school years becomes a microcosm of the larger society they will face.
Educators and community members all around the country have been working to counter the indoctrination and hindrance our youth endure by removing them from these unreceptive environments. In line with this plan of action, institutions like Seattle’s own, First Place, are necessary parts for the progression of our community.
First Place is a private, education-focused nonprofit that serves children and their families from a holistic, culturally relevant perspective. Not only do they provide personalized instruction, on-site counseling, and small class sizes for students; they offer tuition assistance, housing, and counseling services to qualifying families. First Place is a shining example of how our schools can be institutions of empowerment that are led for and by our own efforts. Started in 1989 by educators and social workers who noticed that homeless children were not attending school, the organization became one of four sites in the state to serve that population. They currently offer pre-kindergarten through first grade curriculum from their facility located in the heart of the Central District.
For more information of First Place Schools, Inc. visit their website.