Published: June 19, 2020
In the wake of yet another brutal and senseless death of a Black life, we at Northern Lights School take a stand. 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 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 in America 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 ally? We are listening.
Lastly, the faculty and Board at Northern Lights will sit in self-reflection and identify areas where we need refinement so that we can help bring about transformational justice. We will work to go beyond rhetoric and engage the help of the Adirondack Diversity Initiative (ADI) who guided us through the writing of this statement.
Specifically, we will…
1. Train with ADI (climate survey, intro to cultural consciousness, systemic bystander training, implicit bias training, safe zone training, how to be an ally, other tools)
2. Learn about the history of racism in the United States.
3. Learn about how young children learn about race.
4. Communicate with parents about talking to young children about race.
5. Tell a story about Martin Luther King, Jr. and other brave and important Black activists every January.
6. Attend a class or webinar every year about anti-racism and the institutionalized privilege of being white in the United States.
7. Talk amongst the faculty about our blind spots and support each other in creating a new, less blinded way.
Please join us in creating change. We urge you to make yourself uncomfortable (watch the video of Mr. Floyd’s last 9 minutes, try holding your breath for 8 minutes, e.g.), 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.”
This list of resources for teaching anti-racism came from a Waldorf school in Brooklyn, NY:
Family Toolkit for Racial Justice created by Katrina Green, director of the Chickpeas Cooperative
Your kids aren’t too young to talk about race
Also, @theconsciouskid on Instagram is putting out amazing resources and action items daily