Teachers Demand Safety as Trump Pushes Schools to Reopen- Democracy Now Article

As we consider the impacts of the pandemic and the challenges of returning to school, there are many equity issues in play.  This Democracy Now article highlights a few.

“I Love My Students. I Also Want to Live”: Teachers Demand Safety as Trump Pushes Schools to Reopen (full article)

Excerpt: “I think that it’s time to redefine what public safety means. Is public safety police brutalizing Black and Brown communities, or is public safety making sure the 150 homeless kids that attend my high school have a place to sleep at night? Right? Is public safety about police in every school building, or is public safety making sure there’s a counselor and a nurse and trauma counseling and restorative justice in every school? Right? And is public safety federal troops in our cities, or is it COVID testing for all of our youth and educators?

And I resoundingly want to side with the folks that say we need to make sure that the money is flowing towards these social programs, instead of to the police and, really, to bailing out the richest folks in this country. I mean, this government could find $1.5 trillion to bail out the financial sector and corporations, but we don’t have the money for personal protective equipment for teachers and students? It’s outrageous.” Jesse Hagopian, Seattle Teacher and editor of Rethinking Schools

Sign Petition: Racism Is A Public Health Threat

If you don’t want to read the lead up, and just want to click on the link to sign, here it is:
For those who want more context…
Leslie Gregory is my bad&%# primary care provider. As a Black woman and medical practitioner for 20 years, she has a deep understanding of the health effects of racism. It’s only been recently that I’ve fully understood her advocacy. 
I happened to have an appointment with her one of the days that Iran and the US were escalating tensions. She connected some dots, and specifically asked about the stress caused by being part of one of the targeted groups in the last three years. This was the first time my ethnicity had ever been addressed in a medical setting in consideration of my whole well being. I remember thinking how thoughtful it felt to be acknowledged that way, and also, I clocked my (mostly) white privilege, thinking how I can’t imagine what stressors are incurred by a Black woman on the daily. If she was worried about the effect of racialized stress on MY health, I imagined the concerns for brown and Black folks would be significantly greater.
After 6+ months, I was back in her office, and I learned about this petition and the cause she’s been championing for over a decade. She was writing letters and making phone calls to the CDC 10 years ago and was effectively gaslit. This petition is hoping to take renewed energy into the cause and get the CDC to call a spade a spade: racism is public health threat. Naming it is the first step in developing a treatment. 
Thanks for considering! And if you’re so moved, please feel free to forward and link as you see fit. 
With love and solidarity,
Mitra, former HFP president

Socially Just Schooling in the Time of Covid-19

“Some Students Should Go to School, Most Should Stay Home” by Shayla R. Griffin, PhD, MSW

Shayla R. Griffin, PhD, MSW

This is by far the most thoughtful, comprehensive article I’ve encountered on the complexities of whether or not to return to school during Covid. Griffin touches on the

  • consequences of not opening schools
  • risks of Covid-19
  • struggle of parenting while working
  • mental health consequences of these decisions
  • impact of these decisions on teachers


Talking With White Children About George Floyd

“Following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May, many white people have been asking me, ‘What is the right thing to say to my white children about George Floyd?’
There is no one right thing to say, of course. But, for those who ask, I share my approach to talking with my own white children about race and racism. If we do this thoughtfully and steadily—which is to say daily or weekly—our children won’t end up grasping at troubling stereotypes every time a conflict arises. Instead, they will have a much clearer picture of the systemic causes of racism—and understand that George Floyd’s murder took place in the context of such systems of division, injustice, and discrimination.”

READ: Talking With White Children About George Floyd- article by Ali Michael

Check Out Molly of Denali-Alaska Indigenous Children’s Television Show

Given Covid, some families are relying on screen time more than they would otherwise.  Fortunately, there are some quality programs available. Molly of Denali is one of them. 

Young children learn about themselves and the world around them through stories. creator and executive producer of Molly of Denali,Dorothea Gillim says, “(Stories) help us make meaning of who we are, of our experiences.”The stories and images children hear, see or don’t hear and see “informs their sense of self and their outlook on others…Indigenous children need to see themselves depicted onscreen as heroes, while non-Indigenous children should learn about cultures that have been stigmatized and marginalized over time.”

“When I was growing up, all I saw was really stereotypical, inaccurate, and oftentimes negative portrayals of Native people. And very seldom did I see any Alaska Native representation in media,”  shares Princess Johnson, creative producer of the show. “The story they adopt is overwhelmingly one of deficit and disparity. This narrative can undermine relationships with other communities of colour.” Many say Molly of Denali challenges that.

Article: Alaska Indigenous children’s television show wins Peabody Award