Please see below for some events and actions happening tonight and tomorrow
Dear PS20 Family,
Many of you have expressed concerns about the recent string of racial violence, once again taking center stage in America. From stories of falsely reporting acts of violence in Central Park, to the recent killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, not to mention the danger still presented by the Coronavirus, it can be overwhelming to process the current state of affairs. Being separated from one another during this time only seems to make it that much more difficult to navigate.
So you may be asking "What does it all mean?", "What do I say to my children?", "What can I do to help?"... or "What can I do to survive; to be safe in my own skin?"... The answers to those questions and others aren't simple. There aren't answers that anyone in our community claims to be an authority on. So where does that leave us?
Frankly, it leaves us feeling vulnerable and in a place where we will have to work individually to answer all of the above questions; where we, as parents will not only have to make our own decisions about what aspects of the news we share with our children, but will also have to be forgiving of ourselves as we make mistakes in doing so.
In these very volatile and toxic times, we need empathy, compassion and activism more than ever. NOT the cruelty we've been witnessing recently!
So remember to pause, to become more mindful of and practice sharing your feelings with your children and larger community. And know that you're not in it alone. We have an amazing support system of teachers and administrators who are there to support us and our children during this difficult time. If your child needs to talk about what they're experiencing, then next to you, there's no one who knows them better than their teacher. Reach out to them for counsel and guidance.
We also have the ability and opportunity to work collectively and support each other as parents as well, if we'd only reach out and continue building bridges. Share your thoughts and experiences and learn from one another.
Having said that, there are things that we can all do now to support the causes of justice, equality, equity and compassion. As a PS 20 community, we reach out to support our Black and Brown families. We can also contemplate the ways in which PS 20 can be the change we want to see. Not in a "pie in the sky" rhetorical sense, but in ways that will challenge us to live up to the ideas we say we believe in. How will we extend ourselves and actively work to ensure that our children continue to benefit from the diversity that has become our hallmark, and how will we grow that diversity to include economic, religious, ethnic, gender and special needs?
Lastly, please call your councilperson about the NYC budget that's due for agreement tomorrow, June 5. As you probably know, that budget contains massive slashes in education and social services, while keeping the $6 BILLION NYPD budget almost as-is. But there's been a wave of support for moving more of the NYPD money to education/social services, and every call puts more pressure on council people to do it.
If we can do that and return to 225 Adelphi committed to participating in the work to be done, then we will thrive - together.
Dr Meryem Bencheikh-Ellis & Lawrence "LAW" Watford
Below are some resources that you may find beneficial:
- There will be a kid-friendly online Rally for Black Lives led by several authors (Jacqueline Woodson, Jason Reynolds, Gene Luen Yang, among several others) TONIGHT (Thursday, June 4) at 7 pm for kids and 7:45 for parents and educators. On FB live @thebrownbookshelf via #kidlit community
- 60-minute special "Coming Together: Standing Up to Racism. A CNN/Sesame Street Town Hall for Kids and Families" will air Saturday, June 6, at 10 a.m. ET, 7 a.m. PT on CNN, CNN International, and CNN en Español.
- "At what age should children learn about racism?"
- 26 Childrens' Books to Support Conversations on Race, Racism, and Resistance