This week America celebrates its 244th year of independence from the British. However, experienced by many Americans, July 4th is a reminder that the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness does not always apply to all of us. This year has been full of challenges many of us have not witnessed in our lifetime: Covid-19, divisive politics, an economic shutdown. Paramount among the issues we currently face is the continued taking of BIPOC lives, without repercussion.
In recognition of these recent events happening around the country, we at the Ashland School District are striving to become more aware of the ways in which we explicitly and implicitly support white supremacy in our communities. As such, this Independence Day we encourage you to consider spending part of your day having discussions with your children about what role we can all play in fighting racism and promoting equity. For some of you, we understand that this can be a difficult conversation to have. Here are a few questions to ask yourselves and your families, that may promote further and deeper conversation:
“What is racism?” “What is an antiracist?” “What is discrimination?” “What does an antiracist do while witnessing discrimination?” “How can we, as community members, act as allies?”
We at the Ashland School District strongly support the Black Lives Matter movement and those of us who are not members of the BIPOC (Black Indigenous and People of Color) community are striving for ally-ship. If you would like to join us, one way we are promoting ally-ship at home is by offering pre-traced cardboard “BLACK LIVES MATTER” templates, ready for you and your child to decorate. These templates will be made available for families to pick up from Ashland Middle School outside the cafeteria window between 11:00-1:00 July 2nd & 3rd and all day on July 4th. We firmly believe that art can provide a beautiful instrument for growth, and we hope that you will use this art project to propel these essential conversations.
And if you would like more resources to further these conversations with your families and community members, see below for some great book lists from Walker School Librarian Julie Grantham...
With compassion and commitment,
Children for Change A group of Ashland students committed to pursuing antiracist practices. This group performed in the Ashland School’s MLK Celebration, as well as the city of Ashland’s MLK Day 2020 Led by: Cassie Preskenis and Tia McLean
Although we are not directly affiliated with the Black Lives Matter Movement, we encourage you to visit their website at https://blacklivesmatter.com/. Here are some great resources for books and videos for you to share with your children:
Something Happened in our Town, A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins and Ann Hazard
Not My Idea, A Book About Whiteness by Anastasia Higginbotham
Black is a Rainbow Color by Angela Joy
Children’s Diverse Book Lists:
Read Across America – Diverse Books
Use these lists from NEA and Colorín Colorado year-round to connect children and their families to diverse books, languages, and cultures and spread the joy and love of reading.