Keep Your Foot on the Gas
Today, I read a post where someone wrote, “Social Studies class discussions in the upcoming 2020-2021 school year are going to be interesting!”. Well, news flash, if you haven’t already been discussing these issues in your classroom prior to George Floyd, you have been misleading the future generation. As a minority Social Studies teacher, I make it a point to have tough conversations with my students (when appropriate). Without fail, our philosophical chair discussions always bring out thoughts and emotions that students need to express. It helps us all learn from each other and come together in shared experiences.
Whether you’re a silent supporter or a vocal one right now, you’re right. Inherently, we all deal with difficult situations differently. Some people need to get out in the street and partake in protests, some people need to stay home and channel their frustration into learning more or donating – but however you actively combat racism is right.
As many of you know, disagreements always arise with your significant other; in this case, Kerri Lynn is vocal, and I am silent. But for us, this isn’t a new discussion. Throughout our entire relationship, Kerri Lynn and I have had open and honest discussions about race and racism in our country. Why? Because we are extremely aware of the fact that we will have bi-racial children. Now, don't confuse silence with inaction. Every day of my life, whether it be in my classroom or at the corner store, I am always fighting for minority progress.
Our experiences are fundamentally different. Kerri Lynn is a white, private school educated woman from Long Island, New York. I am a Mexican, public school educated man from south Texas. Kerri Lynn will never know the struggles that I have faced – and that our children will one day face. But our conversations help us learn from each other – and with learning comes understanding. We both have the same goal – to play an active role in creating a society that is anti-racist and has absolutely no tolerance for racism in any form. We hope that when we do have kids, our open discussions and what we have learned from each other will ensure they are as active and educated as we are – and that they are more prepared because of both of our life experiences.
Our small company platform has allowed us to engage with educational leaders from across the country – all coming from different backgrounds. From our fellow educators, we have learned, shared ideas, and take great value in their opinions. We have committed to doing our part to continue learning, donating, and educating (both ourselves and others). The decision for us to share our story was with the intention to remind you that this discussion cannot end when the media stops covering it on the news every hour of every day. There’s no story without struggle, but change needs to be both societal and institutional - and needs to come immediately, if not sooner.