Denver district relinquishes “Know Justice, Know Peace” podcast trademark


Two months after 4 younger Black girls sued Denver Public Colleges for making an attempt to trademark the identify of a racial justice podcast they began, the district stated it’s relinquishing the trademark.

In a court docket doc filed Friday, the district stated it “renounces any declare of possession over the trademark Know Justice, Know Peace for a podcast” and “any efforts to monetize” the identify. Denver Public Colleges requested the court docket to dismiss the lawsuit in opposition to it.

If a choose agrees, it’ll finish a high-profile dispute that attracted nationwide media consideration and earned Denver Public Colleges — a district whose superintendent has stated he needs to dismantle racist methods — vital criticism from local people members who accused the district of asserting possession over one thing Black college students created.

“It’s nearly ironic how us as Black college students, studying about our historical past, studying about how as Black individuals, oftentimes our concepts are stolen, our historical past is stolen, all of our issues are watered down, that now we’re in a state of affairs the place our identify and our model and this work that we’ve frequently constructed up is probably being taken away,” Kaliah Yizar, one of many college students who based the podcast, stated at a press convention in September.

In an announcement Monday, the district stated its trademark try was an effort to make sure the podcast may proceed in Denver Public Colleges.

“From the start, now we have repeatedly acknowledged that our efforts had been about defending this vital instructional software for our students,” district spokesperson Will Jones stated in an announcement. “Now that these younger girls are ready to truly personal this mental property on their very own, we’re thrilled that it’s going to quickly be theirs.”

Yizar and three different college students at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Early Faculty highschool began the podcast, referred to as “Know Justice, Know Peace: The Take,” in the summertime of 2020 in response to the homicide of George Floyd. That they had assist from educators on the college, together with then-Principal Kimberly Grayson, and had been finally paid by the district as apprentices.

The podcast was profitable. The scholars appeared on the “At this time Present” and took part just about in a White Home summit on instructional fairness. Their advocacy additionally spurred the district to pledge to diversify its curriculum to incorporate Black, Hispanic, and Indigenous historical past.

After their former principal, Grayson, left the college final spring, the scholars determined they needed to proceed their podcast independently. They stated they requested Grayson for assist. In June, she filed paperwork to kind a enterprise referred to as Know Justice, Know Peace: The Take LLC.

When Denver Public Colleges realized of the LLC, it filed state and federal trademark functions for the podcast identify in August. 

“Our concern has by no means been with any of our college students,” Jones stated in an announcement. “It has all the time been with this former worker making an attempt to acquire this mental property.”

However the college students, two of whom at the moment are graduated, didn’t see it that approach. In an August assembly, they instructed district officers that the podcast was theirs, with one pupil describing it as “our faces, who we’re.” And in September, they sued Denver Public Colleges for trademark infringement.

In its movement to dismiss Friday, the district hooked up copies of paperwork its legal professionals filed to withdraw its state and federal trademark functions. In an announcement, Jones stated the district lately realized that Grayson signed over the LLC to one of many former college students, who can now “file for and obtain this mental property as their very own.”

The district isn’t letting go of the podcast thought, although. It plans to develop the chance for college kids to make a racial justice podcast, Jones stated, and can maintain a naming contest quickly.

Melanie Asmar is a senior reporter for Chalkbeat Colorado, protecting Denver Public Colleges. Contact Melanie at masmar@chalkbeat.org.



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