By Deanne Benson, Head of School, Lesley Ellis School
The death of George Floyd under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer and the anger and rage in cities across our country once again underscores the rampant racism in our country.
“Imagine. If we had embraced Colin Kaepernick’s peaceful protest and paid attention to the issue he was trying to address.”
“Imagine. We could be working toward change instead of witnessing the chaos, anger and violence in our streets.”
“Imagine. Because this was exactly what Kaepernick was protesting. Not the anthem. Not the flag. Not the military. But unchecked police brutality against people of color like George Floyd in our country.” (Houston Chronicle, May 31, 2020)
As a white person, I wear my white privilege every day. My experiences are not those of my black friends. A few years ago, a black friend arrived late to a meeting in Waltham we were both attending. Driving through Belmont she had been stopped by the police. She wasn’t speeding. She didn’t go through a red light. It seemed her offense was the color of her skin. Two weeks ago, a black friend asked me, “What’s the first thing you hear if the police pull you over?” My response, “May I see your registration and driver’s license.” The first thing he hears – “Is this your car?”
Cell phones and body cams now document some of what our black friends have experienced their entire lives – systemic racism that is built into all aspects of our society. It’s not just the police.
At Lesley Ellis School, we “prepare and inspire children to help make their world a better place” in all that we do, but most particularly through our anti-bias curriculum throughout the year. This link to 31 children’s books to support conversations on race, racism and resistance from the website EmbraceRace offers selections you will find helpful when talking with your children. In this time of COVID-19 we are not physically together, but we can and must be together in speaking up and speaking out against racism.
We must do this.