- The Washington Times - Monday, February 22, 2021

A former New York City educator’s $150-million lawsuit against the city’s Department of Education says she was fired, in part, for rejecting the “Wakanda Forever” salute during implicit-bias training.

Manhattan Supreme Court documents filed Friday on behalf of 30-year education veteran Karen Ames also alleges retaliation in 2018 for citing her Jewish roots where attendees wanted to solely talk “about Black and brown boys of color.”

“This case highlights that those in power often put their own agendas before the well-being of our community,” Ms. Ames‘s attorney, Israel Goldberg, said, The New York Post reported. “It’s a terrible example for our children to be taught to judge people on anything other than merit.”

The newspaper noted that Ms. Ames was a celebrated Bronx superintendent prior to the exchange with colleague Rasheda Amon and others.

“You better check yourself,” Ms. Amon allegedly said after a request for a personal story prompted Ms. Ames to reference grandparents who lost children during the Holocaust.



Chancellor Richard Carranza’s top deputy, Cheryl Watson-Harris, issued a termination letter in August 2018, which came with a “moving in a new direction” rationale.

Ms. Ames‘ pleas to keep her job resulted in a demotion and, ultimately, bureaucratic purgatory with no work for five months.

“The agenda of Chancellor Carranza and his senior leadership team was euphemistically touted as an ‘equity platform’ but in reality, it was a platform used to create gender, age, racial and ethnic divisions in the NYC School system,” the lawsuit adds.

The DOE did not respond to the newspaper’s request for comment.

A similar lawsuit for $40 million was also filed by Rafaela Espinal, a Dominican American who identifies as Afro-Latina.

Ms. Espinal, like Ms. Ames, found herself fired with “new direction” reasoning after not participating in the “Black Panther”-inspired gesture of crossing one’s arms across the chest.

“[Officials] introduced a racial divide where there should be none,” Ms. Espinal’s lawyers say, the Washington Examiner reported Sunday.

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