Dear Steele Community,
I have been thinking of you and our students during this emotional time of unrest in our nation. The last ten days has offered a very real glimpse into the American experience, and how our shared history is often one of systemic oppression mixed with unhinged violence. As a school who values diversity of thoughts, diversity of ideas, diversity of creativities, diversity of experiences, we above all value… diversity. The murder of George Floyd is a(nother) painful reminder that there is still a huge disparity in policing practices, which target people of color. We as a community, must realize our own privilege and speak out against these racial discrepancies.
As parents and educators, we have an enormous responsibility to raise conscientious, compassionate citizens. At Steele, we work each day to support the development and character of our students. We teach students to “Treat everyone with kindness and compassion” and “To do the right thing even when no one is watching.” We must also be intentional about educating our students about social injustices. The Steele community is committed to anti-racist education and support for all of our students and families.
Debby Irving, an educator focused on racial justice, teaches us that “Silence about race reinforces racism by letting children draw their own conclusions based on what they see. Teachers and families can play a valuable role in helping children of all ages develop positive attitudes about race and diversity, and skills to promote a more just future – but only if we talk about it!” Let’s make a commitment as a community to do this work together, now. There are resources listed below to support talking with your children about race and anti-racism.
While it can be difficult to know what to say to children in times like this, we know that talking with a trusted adult helps children work through upsetting events. We also know that not having difficult conversations is how we perpetuate racism.
As DPS Superintendent Cordova said earlier this week, “The tragic events we are experiencing must serve as a reminder that we still have much work to do in creating more inclusive environments – for our students, our community, and our nation.” We will work hard to ensure our school is a place where our children will learn acceptance and belonging.
To all of our students, families, and staff members of color:
Black Lives Matter.
The ultimate measure of a person is not where one stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where one stands in times of challenge and controversy. – Martin Luther King, Jr.
A pediatrician’s view on talking to children about race with an age-by-age guide to conversations
A short CBS news segment on how to raise anti-racist kids
A Children’s Book List, by Age from the New York Times
A list of 31 Children’s books to support conversations about anti-racism and resistance from EmbraceRace.org
An NPR Podcast on how to talk to your children about race, racism, and inclusion
Video panel discussion on Talking to Kids About Racism led by Dr. Kira Banks from Raising Equity.org
Dr. Traci Baxley TED Talk on Social Justice Parenting, curiosity for learning, and turning fear into motivation for positive change