This is the full text of the newsletter I sent out today.
I’ve been meaning to send out a newsletter all week. It’s been staring at me from my to-do list. But what I had planned to send out didn’t feel right anymore given the social context. So, I’ve been trying to find the right words to share.
As I’ve wrestled with those words, I’ve been offered an out —
“You don’t have to say anything.”
But here’s the thing.
I’ve committed myself, my work, and this platform to intentional whole child development. I just can’t think of anything more foundational to human development than human rights.
As I tucked my towheaded little boy into bed last night, he told me he was mad that people mistreat others based on their skin and the way they look.
Exasperated, he blurted out, “I thought Martin Luther King took care of all of that, but I guess not.”
You see, a few weeks ago, through our online learning, his second-grade teaching team assigned a unit on the civil rights movement. He’s learned about Ruby Bridges, Martin Luther King Jr., Thurgood Marshall, and others. We’ve talked about the importance of the civil rights movement a lot in our home.
But I realized, I missed a very important part – the rest of the story – and that’s the message I want to share with you.
I told him I was upset too. That a lot of things changed because of Dr. King and others, but racism still exists and wouldn’t go away because of one person, one speech, or one movement. I told him it takes all of us to keep doing the work. Forever. I told him we have to make sure that we keep listening and loving and speaking up.
And that’s how all the words I’ve thought about writing this week boiled down to the same simple concepts in a conversation with my youngest son.
Racism still exists.
Racism is wrong.
We all have to keep doing our part to challenge it.
Just like my son, I wish the work had already been done. That there was no need to state those truths. I wish I didn’t have to write this. But I also realize that the fact that my son can live on this earth for eight years and only now realize that racism still exists is a privilege that many of my friends simply do not have.
I still have work to do.
We all have work to do.
I can’t speak for your learning community – the children, families, and educators within it– but I do know that every one of them needs to be seen, needs to be heard, and needs to be loved, valued, and safe.
Let’s all commit to keep doing the work.
PS – There are so many people who are more qualified than I am on this topic, so I’ve been amplifying them – with an emphasis on Black voices – on my Instagram platform. (I’m still new there, so forgive my clumsiness in advance.)
You can find great resources from other educators and experts there, both in the posts and in the stories. If you’re looking for resources to help shift your perspective, start conversations, or simply diversify your resources, head over there to check them out. (Tap on the saved stories under “Dev=HumanRights” to catch the ones you’ve missed.)