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This teacher's viral door decoration highlights a gut-wrenching truth about slavery.

Black History Month reminds us that the story of America is not always told accurately or honestly.

The common saying "history is written by the victors" is not necessarily true. History is written by everyone. We have written narratives of the defeated, the oppressed, the commoners, and the enslaved—we just don't get to see those stories as often.

Perhaps it's more accurate to say that history is usually taught by the victors, which affects how stories get told, what parts are emphasized or deemphasized, and the language chosen to tell those stories. How history is shared and talked about and passed down through the generations makes a difference in how we view it.


A combination of historical white supremacy and shame over the truth about chattel slavery has caused American history to be whitewashed in many school textbooks. For example, some books repeatedly refer to people who were enslaved as "workers," which grossly dilutes the reality of what was done to them. Even the more accurate term "slaves" lessens those people's humanity and removes the fact that hey had identities and cultures outside of their violently enforced servitude.

Perhaps that's why this teacher's Black History Month door decoration has been shared more than 100,000 times on Facebook.

Jovan Bradshaw's door decoration highlights the vast human potential that was destroyed by slavery.

Bradshaw is a math teacher at Magnolia Middle School in Moss Point, Mississippi, a school where almost three quarters of the students are African American. For Black History Month, Bradshaw wrote a note to students on her door that read:

"Dear Students,

THEY DIDN'T STEAL SLAVES...They stole Scientists, Doctors, Architects, Teachers, Entrepreneurs, Astronomers, Fathers, Mothers, Sons, Daughters, Etc. and MADE THEM SLAVES.

Sincerely,

Your Ancestors"

Stay dropping knowledge. Magnolia Middle School. Moss Point, MSQuote inspired by post from:Nadine Drayton-Keen gf.me/u/qr38ra

Posted by Jovan Bradshaw on Thursday, February 7, 2019

It's a simple but gut-wrenching account of the human cost of slavery, and a sobering reminder of the diversity of people's lives destroyed by its atrocities.

"Stay dropping knowledge," Bradshaw wrote on her Facebook share of the photo.

Bradshaw says the idea for the door started with a boy's comment in her class.

Bradshaw has been amazed by the response her door photo has gotten, and has said she simply wanted to shift her students' mindsets about the history of their ancestors.

“It all started with this little boy in my class,” Bradshaw told WLOX. “We were talking and he said, ‘Slaves didn’t do much because they couldn’t read or write.’ He kinda caught me off guard. I said, ‘Baby, if I snatched you up and dropped you off in China or Germany or Africa even, you wouldn’t be able to read and write their language either. Does that make you useless or any less educated?’”

So many of our African-American students don’t know where they come from," she continued. "All they are taught is slavery, the servitude side only. They need to know that we were great long before slavery. We built a country with our blood, sweat and tears, and the strength of our ancestors is why they can be great today. You have to see people who look like you contributing to society, and the African contribution is left out at school. I teach math, but I’m woke and I plan on waking up every student that comes through the halls of MMS.”

Bradshaw joked that she would have used a ruler if she'd known her door was going to go viral. But she has made one addition to the door to drive home the point for her students, written in red letters: "There is greatness in you!!"

Bradshaw has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to take students to the Black History Museum in Hattiesburg, MS and the Whitney Plantation in Wallace, LA, and to kickstart a business to "assist school districts in designing programs, activities, and curriculum that will allow the most growth of every student."

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

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