Dear Powerful Educators,
It’s hard to decide what to say to a national group of K-12 educators right now. Summer break has ended for some of you and is likely winding down for others. Some of you have 30+ student classrooms, and others work 1:1. Some of you are in big cities and others in rural areas. Some of you are people of color, some of you are white, and some of you, like me, are mixed race.
I’ve been struggling with how to address such a large group of educators who are starting a school year with the violence in Charlottesville, VA, and national discussions about white supremacy and hate displayed across news and media sources.
And then I remembered that all of you are committed to ensuring safe and supportive learning environments for your students, particularly your marginalized students.
My job is to help make it as easy as possible for you to do that. Here are some resources that can help:
Before we can teach or talk with students about racism or other systems of oppression, we need to learn about ourselves and an often untaught history.
- 10 Books I wish my White Teachers Had Read – Bustle
- Why Talk about Whiteness? – Teaching Tolerance
- There is no Hierarchy of Oppressions – Audre Lorde
You are not alone. Sharing resources like these with other educators, administrators, or family members in your school community can help them learn about these issues. Together, you can create a unified approach to guide an anti-racist, anti-bias foundation for your school year.
- Fighting Hate in Schools – NPR
- We need to Start Telling the Truth about White Supremacy in our Schools – Education Post
- The First Thing Teachers Should Do When School Starts is Talk about Hate In America – Washington Post
- Lessons on Diversity, Bias, and Social Justice – ADL
- Understanding White Supremacy – Teaching Tolerance
- Power in Partnerships: Building Connections at the Intersections of Racial Justice and LGBTQ Movement – Advancement Project
Remember that your LGBTQ students are also black and brown, are disabled, and are living in our country right now which is teaching them about bias and hate every day.
You are about to set a tone and structure for the school year, and it’s up to you to create a space for students to voice their thoughts and concerns, and to dedicate times for discussing current events, questions/curiosities, privileges, identities, appreciations. To teach them the difference between voicing opinions and hate speech. To make your schools' values known. To set up that school culture that will help all of your students to learn, grow, and thrive.
Your students are lucky to have you.
GLSEN Education Manager