GLENDALE, Calif. — Glendale parent Ingrid Gunnell has always stood firmly on defending what she believes is right.

"The time is always right to do what’s right," Gunnel said, quoting Martin Luther King, Jr..

What You Need To Know

  • On February 4, 2021, Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action passed in the California Assembly

  • The week of action runs February 1-5

  • It's a national movement, which started in cities like Philadelphia and Seattle

  • It requires every school district in California to dedicate the first week of February to educating students on social injustice and systemic racism in America

Last year, Gunnell partnered with Cecily Myart-Cruz, president of the United Teachers Association Los Angeles, to write a resolution to bring Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action to California schools.

It's a national movement, started in cities like Philadelphia and Seattle. It requires every school district in California to dedicate the first week of February (Feb. 1-5), to educating students on social injustice and systemic racism in America.

The California Assembly passed the resolution on February 4, and now Black Lives Matter Week will be part of school in California.

“We have to affirm the experiences of our youth," said Cruz.

Gunnell not only lives by these ideals, but is also instilling them in her two sons, Frankie and Gianni.

From a young age, she’s encouraged them to exercise their first amendment right, protesting for social justice causes across the country. Her sons are biracial and identify as half white, half Black.

Growing up in Glendale, where less than two percent of the population is Black, they both say they've experienced racism at school on several occasions.

Frankie remembers a time a teacher told him, "Get off the plantation.”

Gunnell knows this a common experience for Black and brown students. For over 20 years she was an elementary school teacher in East L.A. She added that the racism in schools starts with lack of representation in the curriculum, which is why she made it a point to educate her sons at home about Black history and issues impacting the Black community.

“It’s always important that they know their Black heritage," she said. "For two reasons; one it’s inherently important. And two, we don’t teach it in a systemic consistent manner in our schools.”

Cruz agrees.

“Our history textbooks that we are using in 2021 don’t even have President Barack Obama in our textbooks," she said, adding that the textbooks and curricula are outdated. "We have to start to decolonize our curriculum. Our youth are asking these critical questions, and right now with the pandemic and racial reckoning that we’re having, our kids are saying we want to know more.”

Both Cruz and Gunnell are unsatisfied with the many Black stories that are missing from history lessons.

Including the story of the Black Wall Street massacre in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Or learning about Claudette Colvin, a pioneer in the civil rights movement. Before Rosa Parks, Colvin was arrested at age 15 for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white woman in Montgomery, Alabama.

They believe even the recent cases of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor aren’t being adequately taught in schools.

Following in their mom’s activism footsteps, Frankie and Gianni are starting a Black student organization at their high school in hopes of uniting black students and those who are considered allies to change the racial narrative in Glendale.

“I think it’s important that [my sons] see white people can be allies and co-conspirators," said Gunnell, who hopes she's setting a positive example for her boys.