Once again the week begins with pain created by hate and violence. When the deluge of bad news overwhelms our capacity for empathy, it’s east to turn towards alienation and avoidance. Sometimes we find refuge in revisiting the details of safety plans and trying to rebuild our sense of security. Those responses are important, but more vital is staying open to the hurt of others and building understanding, solidarity, and community.
Melinda Anderson, an advocate for race and equity, wrote in Teaching Tolerance “The notion of care is the root of racial proficiency. I want to know who you are. You’re not fully caring for kids if you don’t know them. So race is something that we talk about. Culture is something that we talk about. Understanding that difference is an amazing, powerful plus that, if we nurture it, makes us all smarter than we can be separately.”
Whether addressing differences of race, gender identity, religion, culture, ethnicity, or even political belief, we demonstrate care by wanting to know who people are and talking about it. At STEM K-8 and in Seattle Public Schools we actively reject the Department of Health and Human Services’ efforts to define gender to exclude trans, gender non-conforming, and non-binary people. You’re invited to get involved in with STEM’s GGLOW OWLS (Genderqueer/gender non-conforming, Gay, Lesbian or Whatever), which works to celebrate gender differences and provide resources supporting an inclusive environment (contact Shawna Murphy firstname.lastname@example.org).
To Jewish community members in STEM, Seattle, Pittsburg, and everywhere where else—we notice and share your pain. We know it occurs within a historical and political context of anti-Semitism. At STEM K-8 we speak out clearly against the ugliness of hate, bigotry, and violence. We pledge to continue the hard work necessary to stand in solidarity, and demonstrate care for our students and their amazing differences by recognizing and talking with them.