Kaley Linzsey: Student Reflection

Since 2020, the Zinn Education Project has hosted hundreds of Teaching for Black Lives Study Groups. Each study group receives copies of Teaching for Black Lives and a Rethinking Schools subscription for each participant, a year-long menu of workshops and seminars to choose from, and access to a network of social justice teachers across the United States. 

In 2021, participants in the Teaching for Black Lives campaign — study groups, online classes, and/or Teach Truth Day of Action — were interviewed to reflect on their experience.

Kaley Linzsey is a student in high school in Durham, North Carolina.

Listen to an excerpt of her interview below.

Full Interview Transcript

Thinking of your whole experience of what you’re speaking to — the opportunity to learn outside of the textbook and learn these things that you never would’ve learned if you were just sticking to textbook learning, and if it weren’t for the Teaching for Black Lives movement and way of doing things — can you sum up what that means to you, or the impact?

I’m inspired. I feel more educated and I feel ready to make a change and hopefully be able to create change because I learned about these things in high school. I learned that not every kid in the United States gets the chance to learn what I learned and that some states try to prevent teaching like this. Even the state that I live in is trying to ban teaching like this, and so it really makes me grateful to realize how I was able to get the chance to learn about this. And other students will never know, probably.

Learning out of the textbook was very limiting. I learned about MLK and Harriet Tubman, but we only learned the basics and we didn’t go in-depth. Learning outside the textbook, I was able to do research on the Black Panther Party, who aren’t traditionally taught in schools. And during the COVID trial, when my class determined who was at fault for the severity of COVID, I was able to learn about medical racism. And I learned how little things in our system that’s been built in can affect whether a person lives or dies. And that’s not traditionally taught. So I was very opened and touched when I learned about that, and I wanted to do something about it.