Denisha

Merriweather

Denisha Merriweather is the Director of Public Relations and Content Marketing at the American Federation for Children and Founder of Black Minds Matter. Denisha previously served as School Choice and Youth Liaison to the Secretary of Education at the U.S. Department of Education.

Denisha is a Florida tax-credit scholarship graduate. She received her Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of South Florida and bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary social science. Along the way, Denisha has become a national symbol for school choice, headlining events with Florida governors and other advocates for school choice. Denisha has shared her story across the country and has been featured in the Wall Street JournalPragerU, the Washington Examiner, EducationWeek, and Fox News among other outlets. She has also appeared in public service announcements promoting school choice.

To learn more about Black Minds Matter, visit blackmindsmatter.net.

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As We Celebrate Our Physical Freedom This Juneteenth, the Fight for Educational Freedom Continues

Saturday is Freedom Day! A day of liberation and celebration for African Americans, establishing their right to design their own lives.

Though President Lincoln signed an Executive Order—The Emancipation Proclamation— freeing enslaved people on January 1, 1863, it would not be implemented in places still under Confederate control. Those defending the economic institution of slavery strained democracy by committing to resist the president’s ruling.

Pharrell Williams’ New Private School Will Serve Low-Income Students at No Cost

Black Celebrities Who’ve Launch #BlackOwnedSchools. I like to think of the celebrities who’ve launched schools in America as an army committed to making a real difference in the lives of students. Many have rags-to-riches stories that have inspired us all to persevere through the hardships and struggles we’ve faced. The impact their schools make will last far longer than celebrity apparel or sports programs.

Black Minds Matter

We must commit to overhauling systems, and that includes acknowledging that our early justice system, which hunted people of color in night watches and slave patrols across the colonies, still lingers with those sins in its blood today. The education system, once a primary mechanism for segregation, is propped up and seemingly prowls for black minds just the same. Those committed to protecting black lives cannot simultaneously refuse to nurture black minds. Our essence and our being deserve life. Our black minds matter.

A school choice graduate goes to Washington

As a school choice graduate turned education advocate, I’ve shared my experience with legislators before, but never in the halls of Congress. That changed last month when I had the honor of traveling to Washington to tell the story of my academic turnaround.

Black Lawmakers Must Prioritize Educational Opportunity for Black Families

For millions of K-12 students, the pandemic has led to unprecedented interruptions of critical education and services. Many students will continue to fall behind and face stunted educational trajectories. As Congress weighs relief during this time of great uncertainty, they must support all students in all schools. And they must reject any solution that extinguishes hope for millions of children of color in America who rely on private schools and school choice programs, just as we did.

School Choice Saved My Life

Denisha Merriweather says her greatest achievement would have been working at McDonalds had she stayed in her local public school Thankfully she had the ability to choose her own destiny and write her own story.

For many children, returning to public school means returning to a nightmare

Recently, I put terms such as "school,” "high school," and "my school" into the search engine of TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, and other social media sites. The results were alarming, with videos and articles of teenagers recounting all the reasons why they hated school. They described in detail every place they'd rather be than school.

How I Learned Not To Hate School

A different school didn’t just make dreams come true for me. It allowed me to have dreams I didn’t know I could have. Last summer, after graduating from the University of West Florida, I volunteered at an orphanage in the Dominican Republic, where I learned firsthand about that country’s social-welfare system. This spring, I plan to continue my education at the University of South Florida, in its joint master’s program in social work and public health.

Diverse choices in education provide opportunity | Commentary

s the Black daughter of a 16-year-old mother raised in poverty in Jacksonville, I was delighted to see Jones High School create a great physics program. The school is an inspiration.

But I was perplexed to see Jones’ success used to disparage the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship – a program that turned my life around.

Black Lawmakers Must Prioritize Educational Opportunity for Black Families

For millions of K-12 students, the pandemic has led to unprecedented interruptions of critical education and services. Many students will continue to fall behind and face stunted educational trajectories. As Congress weighs relief during this time of great uncertainty, they must support all students in all schools. And they must reject any solution that extinguishes hope for millions of children of color in America who rely on private schools and school choice programs, just as we did. 

We Need Urgency. We Need Education Freedom.

The atrocities of our education system have become so commonplace. This has to stop. With the achievement gap widening between our most vulnerable students and our more affluent, the time to increase access to education options is now. 

School Choice Doesn't Mean Public Schools Are Failing

I was assigned to a public elementary school that did little to address the influence my community had on my temperament and academic performance. Looking back from an adult's perspective, I understand the teachers and administrators at my public elementary school were overwhelmed.  They shared my sense of hopelessness and despair.