Within the past few years, the word “Woke” or the phrase, “Stay woke!” has almost become a staple in the Black Lives Matter movement and the social media age. But what exactly does woke mean? To me, being woke means being aware of what is going on in your community, specifically, being aware of racism, and its influence that it still has today. Being woke means looking past the single story narrative that you’ve been exposed to, and to dig a little deeper. Being woke means that you know there is a social injustice going on in the black community. Use these images, videos, and articles to achieve your level of woke, and for you to get a better understanding of what it means to be woke. And believe me, it’s way more than just a trendy saying. As you read BTWM, think about this.

Q. Are you woke? Or are you a dreamer? – JA

Q. How does the concept of stay woke or being woke apply to these signs?


Coates talks about his awakening into consciousness as both actions and state of being with questioning at the heart of it: “When they spoke of being ‘politically conscious’ — as much a series of actions as a state of being, a constant questioning, questioning as ritual, questioning as exploration rather than the search for certainty” (p. 34)

Q. On both a national and an individual level, what questions are we willing to ask of ourselves? 


What We Really Mean When We Say “Woke”

This explores language and black liberation in the context of staying “woke”


Jesse Williams’ acceptance speech


Interview with Jesse Williams


Article about Jesse Williams


The Question Bridge


Earning the Woke Badge


Woke Olympics


Alice Walker wrote a poem to Williams


UK – I Had the Most Disturbing Train Ride of My Life – And It Changed my Perspective on BLM


Black Lives Matter: What’s Next


BET documentary Stay Woke Link


“Race relations, racial chasm, racial justice, racial profiling, white privilege, and even white supremacy–serves to obscure that racism is a visceral experience, that it dislodges brains, blocks airways, rips muscle, extracts organs, cracks bones, break teeth. You must never look away from this” (pg. 10).


What is Coates saying in this quote? Is he telling his son to get woke? Why is it important for Coates to get his son woke?


“I have see that dream all my life. It is perfect houses with nice lawns. It is Memorial Day cookouts, block associations, and driveways. The Dream is treehouses and the Cub Scouts. The Dream smells like peppermint but tastes like strawberry shortcake. And for so long I have wanted to escape into the Dream, to fold my country over my head like a blanket. But this has never been an option because the Dream rest on our backs, the bedding made from our bodies” (pg. 11).


What is this “Dream” Coates is speaking of? Is getting “woke” meaning you wake up from this “Dream?”


“The forgetting is habit, is yet another necessary component of the Dream. They have forgotten the scale of theft that enriched them in slavery; the terror that allowed them, for a century, to pilfer the vote; the segregationist policy that gave them their suburbs. They have forgotten, because to remember would tumble them out of the beautiful Dream and force them to live down here with us, down here in the world” (pg. 143).


As the group, choose one of the listed events:

o   Baltimore protest

o   Ferguson unrest

o   Flint water crisis

o   Trump election campaign

o   Charleston Massacre

o   The Death of Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, and 2016 Dallas Shootings

Choose one or two racial theories, and apply them to the event.