Our hearts ache. In this moment, we are mostly sad, most of the time.
We know that change is painful. We are going through pain, yet that pain will help us get to the other side. On that other side of pain, we must lead with courage.
Racism begins at home, where it is taught and learned. We need trauma-informed practices to transform not only schools, but also homes and hearts.
While we may not all be able to raise our voices against injustice by standing in the street, each of us has a role to play in changing hearts, words, choices, and actions that perpetuate injustice each day. Examining our beliefs and values and how our choices, words, and actions align with them is a first step to taking personal responsibility for our part in upholding or bringing down systemic oppression. After this painful and difficult work, it is time for action towards justice, which we see brave souls taking each day in their efforts to peacefully protest the violence that has cost the lives of too many Black Americans.
May this be the beginning of a deeper, more relevant, more abiding justice. May justice mean an end to injustice, racism, discrimination, prejudice, and inequity. May we take responsibility for helping others heal from the long-term wounds of injustice. May we realize that we are one people and love each other with a commitment to sharing and caring, with a commitment to stand beside our brothers and sisters, be they Black or White, Hindu or Jew, straight or gay.
No matter what race, culture, religion, ethnic group, or sexuality, may we be with each other in solidarity. Black lives matter. Police brutality must end.
We stand with others calling for education for police, for individuals, and for communities. Courageous Conversations are needed as people begin transformative dialogues with a commitment to equity. Listening Conversations must guide us we move beyond our histories, our divisions, and our separations to deep levels of love, compassion and healing.
True equity goes beyond words or theories to action. For lasting, transformative change, balance must be achieved and sacrifice will be required of some. System changes will be required to more equitably disperse resources, save lives, and demonstrate that we care about each and every human being– each toddler, each child, each teen, and each adult, without exception. During this time of COVID-19, we have an opportunity in the midst of crisis to reclaim our humanity, to strengthen our planet, and to build resiliency and sustainability through our words and our actions. This will take time, leadership, and a collective will, a collective regard for others.
We offer the same advice that Maya Angelou gave to Oprah Winfrey:
“The thing to do, it seems to me, is to prepare yourself so you can be a rainbow in somebody else’s cloud. Somebody who may not look like you. May not call God the same name you call God — if they call God at all,” she chuckled. “I may not dance your dances or speak your language. But be a blessing to somebody. That’s what I think. ”
This statement was published by the Center for Educational Improvement on June 9, 2020.
Join Christine Mason, Paul Liabenow, and Melissa Patschke, authors of Visioning Onward in a 90–minute webinar on visioning which will address the future of education in light of the pandemic and racial equity and justice.
June 22, 4:00 p.m. EDT. Followed immediately with breakout discussion with the authors at 5:30 p.m. EDT. To register contact [email protected]