Statement on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
The teachers, Board and staff of Northern Lights School are committed to continually examining and learning how we can create a more diverse, equitable and inclusive school community. We commit ourselves to learning how to foster anti-bias and disrupt racism through our policies, curriculum, relationships, classrooms, and actions. We recognize the position we are in to help form young minds and deepen our commitment to use that power wisely. We want to be an agent of change.
We at Northern Lights School stand with and support the Black and Brown community and especially the families of the thousands of Black people in America who have died at the hands of violence caused by deeply ingrained, chronic, 400 year-old systemic racism and structural oppression.
We at Northern Lights School stand with and support those who protest systemic racism in America. We stand with those who have the courage to voice their anger and hatred of deep injustices in our country. We recognize the pain, fear, frustration, and hurt that Black and Brown people feel.
We at Northern Lights School strive to do our part in fighting systemic racism by fostering and inspiring compassion and understanding in children who will create positive change in the world.
Never has there been a time where this work is more urgent and necessary. Through storytelling, role modeling, creative play, living in community, and conflict resolution, we will continue to strengthen our commitment to educating our school community to confront and expose systemic racism and injustice.
We at Northern Lights School understand that today’s children are tomorrow’s police officers, politicians, parents, teachers, community leaders, and voters. We will strive to do our part to foster compassion and love in every child who comes through our door, make each child feel safe and valued, and create and maintain a healthy school culture.
To families of color everywhere, we invite you to share what words and actions you want to hear and see to help comfort and provide support for your family and communities as we navigate through this moment. How can we be your accomplice? We are listening.
Lastly, the faculty and Board at Northern Lights sits in self-reflection and is identifying areas where we need refinement so that we can help bring about transformational justice. We are working to go beyond rhetoric and have engaged the help of the Adirondack Diversity Initiative to guide us through this process.
Specifically, we will...
1. Work with the Adirondack Diversity Initiative (ADI) to conduct a Welcomeness Audit of our organization and facilitate courses in cultural consciousness, microaggression & implicit bias, and active bystander & allyship.
2. Learn about the history of racism in the United States.
3. Learn about how young children learn about race and how to talk to them about race and bias.
4. Communicate with parents about talking to young children about race and bias.
5. Celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. and tell the stories of other brave and important Black activists.
6. Attend workshops/webinars/courses and read books about anti-racism and the institutionalized privilege of being white in the United States.
7. Talk amongst the faculty about our own blind spots and support each other in creating a new, less blinded way.
8. Constantly examine and adjust our curriculum to ensure that it inspires our students to view humanity from multiple perspectives in a developmentally appropriate way.
Please join us in creating change. We urge you to make yourself uncomfortable, educate yourself and join us in leaning in.
If we don’t confront our own racism and actively work to be anti-racist, we can’t expect our children to be anti-racist. As Ijeoma Oluo, author of "So You Want to Talk About Race" says, "The beauty of anti-racism is that you don't have to pretend to be free of racism to be an anti-racist. Anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself. And it's the only way forward."
Your kids aren't too young to talk about race
List of children's books
The Danger of a Single Story by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (TED Talk) https://youtu.be/D9Ihs241zeg
Is My Skin Brown Because I Drank Cholcolate Milk? Beverly Daniel Tatum (TED Talk) https://youtu.be/l_TFaS3KW6s