“We can disagree and still love each other, unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of my humanity and right to exist.” James Baldwin.
A strong poignant statement from James Baldwin, American novelist, playwright and activist, but necessary then and now. It is 2021. As a child, I thought by 2021 we would be driving hover vehicles; we could travel back and forth through time; and we could teleport by using more brain capacity. And the innocent and hopeful youthfulness in me dreamed that by 2021 racism would be a concept we could only relive by reading a book or listening to our elder's talk.
But here we are in 2021. We, as a country, and with Minnesota being an epicenter, find ourselves at a precipice. What shall we become? What shall we become as educational leaders and fellow educators, but more importantly, what shall we become as citizens of the state of Minnesota? A state we believe to be so grand, yet we can no longer deny nor turn our back on the fact that we have a problem. There is something “in the water” of the state that claims over 10,000 lakes, and too many of our people are floating at the top because the “water” and systemic inequities and barriers are being polluted in many ways.
This is a call to action! This is a defining moment in our country. It is time for us, all of us, to stand up and invest in one another’s humanity. Our children and young people are watching and listening and acting. We need to recognize the inherent worth and value in one another and the beauty that we all exude regardless of individual characteristics endowed upon us by the creator. The time for speaking in platitudes has come and gone. Our children’s lives are literally counting on our actions to repair the harm and move forward in a way that allows space for each and every one of us to be our amazing authentic selves. It is not too late for us to reconcile our past and chart a new course of action, not because we are responding to gross inhuman behavior, but because we owe it to ourselves. And most importantly, we owe it to our children!