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Some churches in Florida now offer Black history lessons to their congregation in response to the state’s restrictions on education.
Earlier this year, Blavity reported that Gov. Ron DeSantis backed the education department’s ruling to reject an African American Studies course for its high school Advanced Placement curriculum. Since then, there have been several laws regulating how educators should teach Black history in public schools and state colleges.
Now, Black churches are fighting back by using their own toolkits to provide their flock with unfiltered information about Black history. Pastor Alphonso Jackson Jr. of New Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Miami shared his thoughts about Florida’s controversial standards on education with NBC News.
“My initial reaction was … disbelief, and then it turned to anger,” Johnson told the outlet.
Like other religious leaders, Johnson turned to the internet to find the best alternative for his congregation. He then discovered an online toolkit created by Faith in Florida, which gives churches the resources they need to counter the state’s standards.
“It’s up to us to be able to write our own story and to tell the truth,” Johnson said, per NBC News.
Pastor Sharon Riley of Agape Perfecting Praise & Worship Center in Orlando also used the same online toolkit to teach Black History lessons.
“Because we have families who have students who are registered in our public school system, we know that there are certain pieces of information relevant to our history that are not going to be taught,” Riley told WMFE, Orlando’s NPR station.
The Florida pastors’ goal is to educate their members, specifically the children, by using the toolkits to teach them everything they should know about Black history.
“Well, the church is going to always be an educational institution — period. We teach people how to live their lives, how to raise their families, how to plan for their future. We teach. That’s what we do,” Riley said.