‘Not an endorsement,’ school board chair says
In wake of the Hamas-led October 7 massacre in Israel, the Essex-Westford School District board chair has defended keeping Black Lives Matter flags on school campuses, according to Parents Defending Education. Chair Robert Carpenter says flying the flag is “not an endorsement” of the organization.
Concerned community members reached out to Parents Defending Education regarding a response they received from an Essex Westford School District board member who defended the Black Lives Matter flags on the district’s campuses. On October 20, concerned community members sent a letter in an email to the district school board demanding that the BLM flags be removed from the district’s schools due to the movement’s antisemitic and anti-Israel activism.
On October 23, school board member and chair Robert Carpenter responded and defended BLM flags in the district:
I do want to offer some clarity on something that has been stated in past meetings. The flags are not an endorsement of the BLM organization. Following our policy, students brought forward a request to fly a flag with the statement “Black Lives Matter” in order to show support for BIPOC students in our district and community. I understand your concern noted in your email and hopefully, this should alleviate that concern over the association with the BLM Organization.
On October 17 the “Black Lives Matter at School” organization issued a statement that did not condemn Hamas and instead blamed “Israeli settler colonialism, occupation, blockade, apartheid, and attempted genocide of millions of Palestinians” for the unfolding loss of life.
“Palestinians are reminding us that decolonization is not a metaphor or abstraction, but requires real, daily struggle,” the Black Lives Matter at School statement said.
On October 9, the grassroots arm of Black Lives Matter shared a statement on X accusing Israel of “apartheid.” The organization then stated that it “stands in solidarity with our Palestinian family who are currently resisting 57 years of settler colonialism and apartheid.”
The BLM chapter of Chicago also posted an image on X of a Hamas terrorist paraglider with the phrase “I stand with Palestine.”
Most of the content in this news story was sourced from a Parents Defending Education press statement.