The Blacksheep Initiative and what UAA is doing for Black History month

Earlier last year in the wake of George Floyd’s death, a group of alumni from various Christian schools have come forward to talk about the discrimination they have faced while going to various Christian schools in Anchorage. This group was predominantly on Instagram under the username a.christian.school, but has now rebranded to The Blacksheep Initiative.

The Blacksheep Initiative is sheading light to many racial issues in Alaskan Christian Schools. Image curtesy to Must Read Alaska.

The previous initiative was about helping identify racial discrimination in Christian schools in Anchorage, now with The Blacksheep Initiative they are hoping to expand to other Christian Schools across the states to talk about the discrimination some alumni have faced. This change came after a group of alumni from Monrow Catholic School messaged the Instagram account to discuss the discrimination they faced. 

Once The Blacksheep Initiative realized that this was a national issue, they wanted  to be the voice of Alaska’s alumni of Christian schools. 

“We’ve gotten very disappointing responses from ACS [Anchorage Christian School] and Grace [Grace Christian School],” Anna Simmers, a representative of The Blacksheep Initiative said. 

The Initiative strives to create a racist free environment for students BIPOC [Black, Indigenous, and People Of Color] in private schools. 

In regards to an amendment statue the organization was trying to pass late last year, Simmers said that they are still working with legislatures. The statue would increase oversight concerning harassment and bullying in private schools, as well as require teaching credentials for private schools. This amendment would also ensure that parents have more authority to report with staff and increase venting and record keeping in private schools. 

“There are Alumni from the 70’s to current students. There are more and more current students reaching out to us. This has to stop.” Simmers said. 

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They are beginning  to develop a non profit that is specifically geared toward this fight for social and educational justice. If you would like to donate to the initiative visit their website at blacksheepinitiative.org 

Since February is Black History Month, UAA has been putting on virtual events all month to celebrate black voices. 

So far there have been many panels dedicated to the month as well as film screenings that involve black directors or have a predominant black lead. 

 Many events for students to participate in will be coming up in the next few weeks. Mr. Soul will do a Q&A on Feb. 18, and a coded bias panel will be on Feb 25. There will also be a natural hair discussion on Feb. 25 at 6pm and  an Intersectionality in Judicial and Law Enforcement panel on Feb. 26 at 1pm. The final event of black history month will be a viewing of the movie Get Out. If you’d like to see the times and where to sign up you can go to the event calendar on the UAA website.