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She saw her mother clinch the Capitol and called her publicly.

For four years, Helena Duke, an 18-year-old high school student from Massachusetts, had distanced herself from her mother because of their political views. She has demonstrated for racial justice to her mother’s open disapproval, she said. Meanwhile, his mother, a longtime Democrat, has become increasingly supportive of President Trump.

Then last week, a cousin of Ms Duke sent her a music video that had gone viral on social media. A black woman is seen amid a crowd of Trump supporters in Washington, DC; a white woman swings her hand on the face of the black woman, the black woman hits her back; then the crowd angrily confronts the black woman.

Ms Duke immediately recognized the people in the center of the scene: her uncle, aunt and mother, who was the one who was beaten. Her mother had never told her she was going to Washington, she said. Mrs. Duke found it all infuriating.

“I remember seeing the FBI tweets saying that anyone who knows anything about people who were on Capitol Hill or whatever put their name there,” she said. “After a lot of thinking, I thought it was really the right thing to do.”

Thus, in a message addressed to the “100 or 200” Twitter followers that she had at the time, she wrote: “Hi Mom, remember the time you told me I shouldn’t go to the BLM protests because they might get violent … is that you?” and retweeted the video clip. In a follow-up, she added: “She’s the liberal lesbian in the family who has been kicked out several times for her opinions,” and listed her mother, uncle and aunt by name.

In the days since the first tweet, which has been shared more than 80,000 times, Ms Duke has achieved some degree of stardom, raising thousands of dollars in a fundraiser for her tuition and listening to strangers across. the country who feel alienated family members on politics.

What she hasn’t done much is talking, beyond a few short texts, to her mother. Now living with her father, Ms Duke said even a short trip to pick up clothes from her mother’s home over the weekend involved a police escort. She’s not sure what her mother did in Washington, although her aunt’s name appears on a list of unrest-related arrests by DC police charged with simple assault. Neither Ms Duke’s mother nor her aunt responded to messages seeking comment.

“It was difficult for me, and I felt very, tremendously guilty for doing it at one point,” Ms. Duke said of posting the tweets. But she said some of her cousins ​​told her they supported her. “I really don’t think I did anything wrong,” she said. “They should be held accountable.”

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The mother of a black student complained of “fences”. He was kicked out.

When the mother of a black ninth grade student at a private school in Charlotte, NC, learned last month that her English class was going to study “Fences,” by August Wilson, an acclaimed play examining the racism in 1950s America, she complained at school.

The drama, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 1987 and was adapted into a critically acclaimed film starring Denzel Washington in 2016, is about a black family and is strewn with racial slurs from the front page.

Faith Fox, a lawyer and single mother, said in an interview that she imagined her son’s predominantly white class at Providence Day School reading the dialogue aloud. She said her main concern was that the themes were too ripe for the group and would promote stereotypes about black families.

After a series of emails and a meeting with Ms Fox, the school accepted another lesson for her son, Jamel, 14. The school also discussed the complaints with the parents of four other students. Ms Fox’s disagreement escalated. She introduced it to a parent’s Facebook group, then sent an email that school officials said was a personal attack on a faculty member.

The day after Thanksgiving, the school informed Ms Fox that Jamel would no longer be attending school, the only one he had ever known.

Her mother called it an eviction. The school called it a “termination of enrollment” which concerned the parent and not the student. Either way, what was meant to be a literary lesson in diversity and inclusion had somehow cost a 14-year-old black boy his place in an elite private high school.

Jamel had recently been on the school’s basketball team and said in an interview that he hoped to graduate as a Providence Day lifer. “I was completely crushed,” he says. “There wasn’t, ‘Please don’t send me away, I won’t say this, I won’t say that, my mother won’t say this, my mother won’t say that.’ to go to public school in January.

This year has brought an account with running in many American institutions, including schools. When widespread street protests erupted after George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, young people across the country took to social media to speak out against racism in their schools. At Providence Day School, black students shared stories of discrimination and callousness on Instagram, and the school was among many who posted statements against racism.

“For black members of our community, we see you, we hear you and we will act,” the statement read. The school also revised its bias complaint process and created alumni, faculty and student diversity groups.

But Ms Fox said she believed the school’s treatment of her son proved it was all lip service.

“You can have the important conversations about race and segregation without destroying the confidence and self-esteem of your black students and the black population,” Ms. Fox said in an interview. Just over 7% of the school’s 1,780 students are black, about 70% are white, and the rest identify as members of other minority groups.

School spokeswoman Leigh Dyer said last week officials were “saddened” that Jamel had to leave.

“As a school community, we value diversity of thought and teach students to engage in civic discourse on matters on which they may not necessarily agree,” Ms. Dyer said. “We have the same expectations for adults in our community.”

The November 27 termination letter cited “bullying, harassment and actions of racial discrimination” and “slanderous accusations against the school itself” by Jamel’s mother.

Ms Dyer made a statement that Ms Fox had committed “several personal attacks on a person of color in the administration of our school, making her feel intimidated, harassed and in danger” in discussions about the “fences.” He also said Ms Fox used to make “toxic” statements about the faculty and other people in the school, but did not provide examples.

Ms. Fox denied this. “Instead of fixing the problem, they are trying to make me look like an angry and declaimed black woman,” she says.

The New York Times examined the emails and Facebook posts Ms Fox provided and also interviewed two other Providence Day parents who said they had similar concerns about the play and a video the school was using to facilitate conversations about racial insult. They spoke on condition of anonymity to protect their children.

The school informed parents in early November of the lesson plan in an email. Noting the frequent appearance of insult in dialogue, he indicated that students would instead say “N-word” when reading aloud. He said the time would be “spent examining the word itself and some of its more nuanced aspects of meaning”.

The email included a link to a PBS NewsHour interview with Randall Kennedy, a black professor at Harvard, discussing the story of the insult while using it repeatedly.

“It wasn’t something I thought appropriate for a room filled with elite and elite affluent white kids,” Ms. Fox said.

His son was also dreading the lesson, which he allegedly witnessed via video due to the coronavirus pandemic. “It’s really embarrassing to be in a class of predominantly white students when those words come in,” Jamel said, “because they just look at you and laugh at you, talk about you as soon as you leave. the class. I really can’t do anything because I’m usually the only black person there.

Ms Dyer, the spokesperson, said the school introduced the study of “fences” in 2017 in response to black parents who wanted more lessons about the race. In the past few years, there had been only one complaint about the coin, she said.

After her son was offered an alternate assignment, Ms Fox posted articles about “Fences” on the Facebook group. Other parents said they too had concerns about the play and the PBS video. One comment directed her to an online essay by a college student from a previous year that described the “dagger” she felt “deeper and deeper” with each mention of the insult in the video.

It was at this point that Ms. Fox emailed the school’s director of equity and inclusion, calling her “shame on the black community.” Ten days later, Jamel was kicked out of school. Ms Fox said she was surprised but didn’t regret sending the email in the heat of the moment.

After Jamel’s expulsion, a letter signed by “concerned black teachers” was sent to the parents of the four other students who had complained, arguing for the literary merits of “Fences”. He said that great African American writers don’t create perfect black characters when trying to show “the damaging legacy of racism.”

This is a view shared by many critics and academics. Sandra G. Shannon, professor of African American literature at Howard University and founder of the August Wilson Society, said schools should not shy away from “the harsh realities of the past.”

Harvard Graduate School of Education professor Katie Rieser said “Fences” is taught widely in middle and high school, but she also urged it to be done carefully.

“It’s telling a story about a black family which, if it is the only text or one of the few texts about black people that students read, might give white students in particular the feeling that families black are all like this black family ”. she said.

Ms Fox said the struggle to be heard as a black parent in a predominantly white private institution had been “exhausting”.

She remembers when Jamel came home upset from elementary school after a field trip to a former slave plantation. After complaining, the school ended annual trips, she said.

The other day she said her son told her he finally understood “why Black Lives Matter is so important and not just about George Floyd and all those people dying on the streets, but it has to do with it too.” with the way we are treated. everywhere else.”

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Lucille Bridges, mother of civil rights pioneer, dies at 86

When she and Ruby arrived at school for Ruby’s first day of school, she recalls, there were a large number of Federal Marshals and protesters in attendance. Some of the protesters shouted, “Two, four, six, eight, we don’t want to fit in,” and threw eggs and tomatoes at Ms Bridges and her daughter, she said. But the marshals prevented them from being beaten.

Ruby Bridges said Wednesday that she doesn’t remember her mom and dad telling her anything other than that she was going to a new school. “They didn’t try to explain to me what I was about to get into,” she said. “But I just think it’s because it would be difficult for a parent to prepare their kids to enter an environment like this, so they didn’t try.

Lucille Bridges recalled in the 2016 interview that two city police officers blocked their way as she tried to escort her daughter through the school gates, saying they couldn’t enter. She remembered two of the marshals saying, “The US president said we can. “

The marshals who took Ruby to and from school were heavily armed, keeping a machine gun in the car they were driving. “And that’s how we lived it for a whole year,” said Lucille Bridges.

The NAACP supported Lucille and Abon Bridges for several years as they lost their jobs when the school’s integration made headlines, and friends from their all-black neighborhood took turns guarding their homes.

Lucille Bridges, who loved to garden, moved from New Orleans to Houston because of Hurricane Katrina, her daughter said. She stayed in Houston to have access to better healthcare and returned to New Orleans about five years ago.

Later in her life, Ms. Bridges did not harbor ill will against the protesters. “All these people calling us names, you just have to blame it on their ignorance and keep going,” she said. “Be yourself, and God will bring you through.”

Lucille Bridges is survived by six children, numerous grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

“Study, listen to what their teachers are telling them, and their mothers and fathers,” Lucille Bridges advised the children in the 2016 interview. “Once they are educated, they can be anyone. that they wanted to be: doctors, lawyers or whatever. But you have to have this education and I would like them to just listen to my story so that they know how hard it was for my kids to go to school.

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Alaskan native Amanda Bouffioux ‘amazing mother’ dies at 44

This obituary is part of a series on people who died in the coronavirus pandemic. Learn more about the others here.

When the coronavirus pandemic began, Amanda Bouffioux and her family stayed at home.

Ms. Bouffioux, originally from Inupiaq, Alaska, worked as an administrative assistant for the Anchorage Management Services office of NANA, an Alaskan Native corporation owned by more than 14,000 Inupiaq shareholders. During the week, she only went to the office to collect the papers. The office reopened in the summer and she made sure to wear her mask.

After a family day trip to the port town of Seward in mid-August, Ms. Bouffioux began to feel ill. Her partner, Scott Wells, insisted she go to the hospital, where she tested positive for the virus. She was sent home and isolated in their room, away from their children, Chris, 8, and Terrisa, 9. He and the children had tested negative.

When her condition worsened, Mr. Wells took her back to the hospital and this time she was admitted. Several days later, on August 19, she was intubated and put on a ventilator.

“She called the day they were going to intubate her,” Mr. Wells said in an interview. “I told him I love him, not to worry about the kids, just to work to get better. It was the last time I spoke to him.

Ms. Bouffioux died on September 8 in an Anchorage hospital. She was 44 years old.

Amanda Pauline Bouffioux was born on December 26, 1975 in Kotzebue, a village above the Arctic Circle in northwestern Alaska. Her biological parents abandoned her for adoption to Edna and Norman Bouffioux.

A fan of country singer George Jones, she sang in his high school choir and played the flute.

Ms. Bouffioux was taking online classes at an Aboriginal community college and dreamed of owning her own business.

“When she got down to something, she made it happen,” her sister Clarissa Coffin said. “She was so selfless and so good at taking care of people.”

During his funeral in Anchorage, his three oldest sons from a previous relationship, Nickolaus Bouffioux, Daniel Gallahorn and Robert Gallahorn, served as porters.

“She was calm and shy and so smart,” Mr. Wells said of Ms. Bouffioux. “She loved to read and learn and was excellent at Pictionary and Trivial Pursuit. She was an incredible mother. I have never known a more patient and loving mother.

For her family and friends, the death of Ms. Bouffioux was a stark reminder of the unpredictability of the virus; At one point, the state had the lowest death rate in the country, but cases are now on the rise, according to the Alaska Department of Health and Human Services.

Alaskan natives are particularly affected, said Dr. Joseph McLaughlin, the department’s epidemiologist. From the start of the pandemic until Oct. 15, Alaskan natives were hospitalized five times more often than Whites in Alaska, and their death rate was more than four times higher.