“Justice is what love looks like in public.” – Cornel West
At HFP, we actively teach appreciations for differences. We work to combat prejudice and stereotypes. And we stand up to injustice.
Many in our community are outraged that a person who publicly insults and threatens marginalized groups has been appointed to the country’s highest leadership position. We feel protective of the children, families and people across the country who are even more vulnerable due to the hateful rhetoric and promises of policy changes that would further erode people’s rights and safety.
Earlier this year, Teaching Tolerance produced a video, called “The Lie” in which 4th graders call out the painful prejudices they’ve heard about their own identities. These bold young people speak out against the racist, xenophobic and sexist messages they’ve received. They are not buying it and neither should we.
What can we do to counteract these messages? The following excerpts may help answer that question. Both of them speak loudly to how we, as caregivers, can talk to children about acts of hate and how we, as humans, can take action to combat prejudice.
We know that racism, hatred, disrespect, and intimidation are not pro-human behaviors. The majority of voters in the US on November 8th did not endorse those behaviors, but power in this country will be passed to the leaders who did. No matter where we stand on the political spectrum, no matter what policies we advocate, we know that every child deserves respect and love, no matter what their skin color, place of birth, gender, language, or religion.
We need an infusion of respect and caring in our communities to offset the erosion of both in the public forum over the past year or more. So it’s time for us parents to take the power we have, and use it to promote unity, understanding, and compassion in our homes, neighborhoods, and communities.
Explain the election to your children. Basically, many good people on all sides of the political spectrum haven’t been feeling safe. So now it is clear that we need to spend more time building bridges between people. Listening. Making sure there’s a path forward for everyone. It is now clear that this is what we adults must do. And everybody can help. Every family can make a difference.
Tell them bigotry is not a democratic value, and that it will not be tolerated…. Tell them you stand by your Muslim families. Your same-sex parent families. Your gay students. Your Black families. Your female students. Your Mexican families. Your disabled students. Your immigrant families. Your trans students. Your Native students. Tell them you won’t let anyone hurt them or deport them or threaten them without having to contend with you first.
Since an anti-bias curriculum is the heart of the HFP philosophy, here is our commitment to our children and community.
At HFP we teach kindness, compassion, caring, interconnection and inclusion.
We Will Continue To:
- Be gentle, kind and considerate to everyone in our classroom community.
- Show openness to sharing and hearing perspectives.
- Support social problem solving.
- Interrupt hurtful behaviors such as teasing or exclusion.
- Teach children to stand up for themselves and for others.
- Boost emotional literacy and self-awareness of our needs and those of our friends.
- Build appreciations for ways we are similar and different from one another.
- Welcome curiosity and honest conversations even with “touchy” topics.
- Read books honoring experiences that are both similar and different from our own.
- Sing songs about friendship, peace, feelings and love.
- Nurture critical thinking and engaged inquiry.
- Teach affirmations, acceptance and love.
- Embrace an anti-bias curriculum
Join us in using our power, privilege and spheres of influence to fight against prejudice, bigotry and intolerance. Our impact of striving for social injustice can span generations. Our children and the future beyond are depending on us.