black students inside Denver is suing the school district, saying it is trying to “steal” their podcast name “Know Justice, Know Peace”.
The lawsuit says the students, who created the racial justice podcast “Know Justice, Know Peace” after George Floyd’s murder in 2020, made “an instant hit” that caught the attention of media outlets, including the show “Today,” reported The Denver Post. .
The group — consisting of four black current and former students of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Early College — Denver Public Schools sued in federal court on Monday. The district filed three trademark applications, including one state and two federal applications, for the name, according to the lawsuit.
A Colorado trademark registration referenced in reporting by Chalkbeat Colorado reveals that the district described the series as “providing information about inequalities in the education system.” [and] provide solutions for implementing, improving, [and] maintain equity.”
The lawsuit described an irony in the district’s attempt to trademark the name.
“The irony of DPS’s efforts … is that for years DPS has fallen far short in black history, racial justice and education around these important issues,” the lawsuit said. “That their newly discovered and considerably belated desire to address racial problems had to come in this form is a sad commentary on the state of DPS.”
A Denver Public Schools spokesperson told The Switzerland Times it would not comment due to the pending lawsuits.
District Deputy Superintendent Anthony Smith met with students and their parents in an attempt to “force and bully” them into saying the district owned the trademark, according to the lawsuit.
“Your clients in particular are liable for trademark infringement,” says the district attorney in a letter to the student attorney.
Chalkbeat reported that in August a district attorney sent a letter to former director Kimberly Grayson, who was involved in the creation of the podcast, regarding her registration of a company called “Know Justice, Know Peace: The Take LLC.” .”
The letter, which Chalkbeat said received through a request for public records, stated that the name belonged to Denver Public Schools and described the podcast as produced with district equipment on its property.
Grayson said in an email to district staff obtained by Chalkbeat that she registered the company because she had dropped out of school and the students wanted to record the podcast independently.
She wrote that the district contradicted itself for expressing its stance on justice, while also saying it “possess the image, voice and substance of four black young ladies,” Chalkbeat said.