Karen Wootton, Odenton, MD email@example.com
Black Lives Matter.
There are no IFs, ANDs, or BUTs about it. Full stop.
In these difficult times, we struggle with what to say. Senseless murder by police and violence and force against protestors are the backdrop of a pandemic that seems almost inconsequential. We have been avoiding the discussions about race for too long. As uncomfortable as some might find these discussions, they will not be as uncomfortable as the experiences of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Jacob Blake, the many that came before them, and, sadly, the many that will probably come after.
As educators, it is our job to open students’ minds. While we provide curriculum and professional learning to those who might teach math, we at CPM are also indirectly teaching our future citizenry. We are teaching young human beings. Are we preparing students to be the best citizen they can be? Are we doing everything we can to foster a belief in the power of diversity? We must reflect on our role in either supporting or dismantling structural racism before we can teach our students to understand these issues and issues of equity.
We all must do better. We must work to weed out racism and become anti-racist. As Dr. Kendi (author of How to be Anti-Racist) says, it is no longer enough not to be a racist, but we must stand up to racist practices, policies, and systems that oppress. As educators, we shape the future by educating our students. We must understand that it is upon each of us to solve this problem, and it is not simply someone else’s problem to solve. Ask yourself: What else can I do?
We know we still have a lot to learn. Some of us have privilege and have benefitted from being white. We know that there will be many uncomfortable conversations ahead as we navigate our way through this, seeking to better understand. But it is through the discomfort that growth will happen; we are confident in that. It is time to lean in and have these difficult conversations.
It is time for change. It is time for action. It is time for everyone to do their part, whether that is reading books, writing to representatives, protesting, educating our youth, and above all, voting. We are responsible for making sure some good comes from all of this pain.