June 1, 2020
Dear PS 321 Parents and Guardians:
What a heartbreaking week this has been. I know that our kind and caring community is horrified by the most recent murder of an unarmed black man, George Floyd. That this comes on the heels of the deadly impact of COVID-19 on people of color and poor people, the killing of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, and the recent incident in Central Park makes it even more difficult to endure. As former president Barack Obama said after George Floyd’s killing, “….we have to remember that for millions of Americans, being treated differently on account of race is tragically, painfully, maddeningly ‘normal’—whether it’s while dealing with the health care system, or interacting with the criminal justice system, or jogging down the street, or just watching birds in a park.”
Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.” I am writing this letter because I know that many of us do not want to remain silent. We will each decide the way in which we want to make our voices heard, but one important role that parents can play is talking openly to your children about race and racism and letting them see that you are committed to justice and equity. Parents of course need to be the ones to decide how much to talk about racism and violence to their children of varying ages, and I appreciate that many of you have been having these difficult conversations.
I so wish we were in school now for so many reasons, but one is that I know that we would be able to address these issues and support each other so much more effectively than we can in our isolation. But, even though we are not physically together, I know that we remain a community united in our commitment to equity and supporting all children—and people. And although many of us are suffering as we see the deadly impact of racism in our country, I want to acknowledge the particular toll this takes on our families and staff of color.
If you are looking for resources to help you talk with your children, I am listing some below.
I am thinking of all of you.
• Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility—www.morningsidecenter.org (although mainly directed to teachers, parents may also find it useful)
• Raising Race Conscious Children: A Resource for Talking about Race with Young Children www.raceconscious.org
• Teaching Tolerance Beyond the Golden Rule: A Parent’s Guide www.tolerance.org
• How do I make sure I’m not raising the next Amy Cooper by Jennifer Harvey for CNN
June 1, 2020