Dear Pinecrest Community,
What happened to George Floyd last week and what is happening in our country now feels beyond words. I cannot imagine the heartbreak and terror, and it makes my own heart heavy. I am sure I am not alone in these feelings.
One of our teachers texted me Friday morning and said how depressed she felt and that she wanted to cry. I told her, “I know what you mean. And as white women, what can do we do?” I think her response helped to center us both for that moment, as we were beginning our school day: “Teach the children well? That’s a line from a Crosby Stills Nash and Young song.” (She’s older than me but I do know that song!)
This is something for sure we can do because we do it every day, and we will absolutely continue to do it.
But, still, this is a very hard and heavy time. The pandemic itself is a challenge for countless reasons and, I know for some families, bringing with it serious consequences. It is very sad watching the unfolding of what feeling marginalized, in danger, and less than for too long looks like. Seeing the loss of George Floyd’s life in such a cruel way is beyond words.
I don’t know exactly what the right thing to say in this moment is, but, still, I want to say something because I believe in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King: “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” And, I know what silence has felt like for me when I have had times that have felt hard or challenging so I cannot imagine it in this moment.
“Empathy is not connecting to an experience; it’s connecting to the emotions that underpin an experience.” (Dr. Brené Brown)
I recognize the list is long and thorough of what’s needed at this time, but I think it would serve us all well to have empathy at the top of that list – and it’s something we can all do right now, right where we are, with the people we love. It can start with us.
I would also like to share these resources with you that I think are relevant in this moment:
- Your Kids Aren’t Too Young to Talk About Race: Resource Roundup
- The Conscious Kid Library’s 26 Children’s Books to Support Conversations about Race, Racism, and Resistance
- 31 Children’s Books to Support Conversations on Race, Racism, and Resistance
- Dr. Brené Brown on Empathy – RSA Animated Short
- Empathy Integration Exercise / Discussion Topic from Dr. Brené Brown / Daring Classrooms (downloads as a PDF)
- Empathy Exercise / Discussion Topic from Dr. Brené Brown / Daring Classrooms (downloads as a PDF)
- For White Allies in Search of a Solution to American Racism / When Folks of Color Are Exhausted – from Teaching Tolerance
- What to Do If You Want to Protest Injustice But Can’t Because of the Pandemic
- From Washingtonian magazine 6/1/2020: “Today the National Museum of African American History & Culture released “Talking About Race,” a web portal with free resources for you to learn how to talk about race and racism. If you’re unsure of what you can do right now, educating yourself is a good first step. There are suggestions for how to talk about racism with your kids, coworkers, students, and more.”
- Last night, I ordered How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi. (I ordered it from Politics and Prose in D.C. – here is the link if you are interested – they can mail it to you or you could do curbside pick-up. It is currently sold out on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, but I was also glad to support an independent bookstore. If they run out of stock at P&P, you can also try this site of independent bookstores around the country.) This morning, a Pinecrest parent highly recommended this book, too.
- On CNN (including live stream) on Saturday, June 6, 10 a.m. EST: A Town Hall for Kids and Families – Standing Up to Racism
And here are some other resources shared by FCPS on June 3, 2020:
- Here are some tips for having these conversations
- Teaching Tolerance – Beyond the Golden Rule: A Parent’s Guide to Preventing and Responding to Prejudice
- Embrace Race – 10 Tips for Teaching & Talking to Kids about Race
- Teaching Tolerance, Resource for teaching about race, racism and police violence
- Teaching Tolerance, Critical Practices for Anti-Bias Education
- American School Counseling Association Race and Equity Resources
For those in our community who feel scared and shattered: I don’t know exactly the right thing to say, and it is always a vulnerable feeling to think I could get it wrong, but I want you to know I am thinking of you, I see you, and my heart aches for this.
Onward and stay safe,
Head of School
Certified Dare to Lead™ Facilitator