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We Stand for Inclusion, Respect and Love

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.

From Patty Wipfler, Hand In Hand Parenting –

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.

From What do We Tell the Children? By Ali Michael, Ph.D. –

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.

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HFP’s Susan Eisman Leads the Charge in Teaching Social Justice

pjaureliareadingWe’re making progress putting books in front of our children that emphasize under-represented groups.  Maria Russo of the The New York Times recently posted an article recommending some of these books that “tackle” race and ethnicity. Reading Ms. Russo’s piece immediately reminded me of HFP’s lead teacher and director, Susan Eisman, whose passion is to use books as a tool in teaching social justice. When I asked Susan about her stance on children’s books, she shared:

When you look up a list of the most popular children’s picture books, and you put aside the wide array of books featuring animal protagonists, you’ll likely find an abundance of stories featuring white, male, able-bodied characters.  When it’s not explicit, it’s likely assumed that these characters live in a nuclear family.  While many of these classics are wonderful, the repetition of stories from a single or limited perspective inadvertently reinforces biases and stereotypes.  That’s why we prioritize diversifying our children’s library at HFP, an essential component of our anti-bias curriculum.

Susan has the opportunity to bring this discussion of diversifying classroom libraries tosusan_eisman other educators as she co-facilitates a workshop titled “Analyzing Young Children’s Picture Books with an Anti-Oppression & Anti-Bias Lens” with Laura Cznarniecki at both the OAEYC (Oregon Association for the Education of Young Children) and the NWTSJ (Northwest Conference for Teaching for Social Justice) later this month and beyond. More details on what, when, and where below!

Speaking of books and authors that promote social justice – we like this interview from Sherman Alexie. We think you will, too. He authored Thunder Boy Jr, one of our most recent purchases for our classroom library, and was featured on NPR.


Ms. Russo reports on the shift toward more diversity in authors and protagonists,

We Need Diverse Books is the unofficial home of the movement, and their web site is a good resource for reading lists and other useful news and information.

And to give credit where credit is due, you can find the New York Times article by Ms. Russo here — Children’s Books That Tackle Race and Ethnicity.

Susan’s Trainings

  1. Oregon Association for the Education of Young Children on Saturday 10/15, 10:15am-12:15pm. Clackamas High School, 14486 SE 122nd Ave, Clackamas, OR 97015.
  2. Northwest Conference on Teaching for Social Justice on Saturday, 10/29, 12:45-2:15pm. Madison High School, 2735 NE 82nd Ave, Portland, OR 97220.
  3. Threads of Justice Early Childhood Education on Friday, 1/27/17 and Saturday, 1/28/17.  Wild Lilac Child Development Center.  https://www.wildlilac.org/threads/
  4. PCPO Parent Child Preschools Organization Annual Conference on Saturday, 3/18/17. Clackamas High School, 14486 SE 122nd Ave, Clackamas, OR 97015 http://www.parentchildpreschools.org/conference 
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Humanizing the Immigrant Experience

As some of you know, Charles (HFP librarian) and I have been seeking books for our classroom that share the stories of immigrant families and of people who are homeless.

I have begun talking with our children about the value of our safe and loving homes. In doing so, we can set ourselves in a broader context as we consider some people that don’t have the same  luxuries as we do. Some families may not have food to eat, a comfortable place to sleep or warm home to play in. Given that many in our country are currently confused and proclaiming racist/anti-Muslim/anti-refugee/anti-immigrant sentiments, it feels that much more important to teach compassion.  It seems pressing to put faces and actual experiences to the word “immigrant” so we can not dismiss, ignore or foolishly regard all as a threat.  It is a reminder of the imperative to teach that all humans are connected and all people are valuable.

I’m grateful for the talented children’s authors and artists who are sharing  important accounts of precious people who have endured hardship and challenge, as they have left their own homes to come to the United States.

Three of my current favorites are:

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Two White Rabbits by Jairo Buitrago
In this moving and timely story, a young child describes what it is like to be a migrant as she and her father travel north toward the US Border.

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Mama’s Nightingale by Edwidge Danticat
A child of Haitian immigrants uses the power of words to reunite with her imprisoned mother.

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I’m New Here by Anne Sibley O’Brien
In this picture book for elementary children, three recent immigrant children from Korea, Guatemala, and Somalia adapt to their new country while finding a way to retain their unique cultures.

As I have been looking for books, I learned about a website with a huge array of high quality children’s books that illustrate a wide range of under-represented and marginalized experiences. I can think of no better way to combat xenophobia than to learn about, empathize with, and celebrate a host of experiences via stories. 

Check out  and share this website of exceptional children’s books:I’m Your Neighbor Books.


Here are two adult resources that help give voice to the experience of immigrants.Here’s to sharing humanizing stories to broaden minds and soften hearts.

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Home” by Warsan Shire – SeekersHub Blog
“No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark you only run for the border when you see the whole city running as well your neighbors running faster than you…”

How David Douglas School District proves Donald Trump wrong.Sharing Oregon immigrant students’ stories. A powerful example of putting faces and facts to a handful of impressive young people.