We had no intention of returning this quickly. But as a company, we cannot ignore the simple fact that the rise of violence lately in the United States is running rampant.
We recognize that our readers are probably exhausted by the barrage of news of things that are entirely out of our hands. But we cannot be silent. While we know focus of our world is on the disability community, this doesn’t mean that our students aren’t African Americans, aren’t attending protests, have friends and neighbors who experience the divide that the rest of us are just sitting on the side wondering why solutions have not been found.
We were reminded last week right after George Floyd was murdered that Inclusion doesn’t happen without all our ethnicities, cultures, and life experiences. From this, we know that we need to verbally send our support to the change that is so desperately needed.
When part of our community is affected, our whole community sees it, hears it, experiences it. We cannot all go out and attend the protests. But for those who experience the divide: we see you, we hear you, we are on your side.
Some things to know before you engage someone who is stuck because of the “-isms”
- Check your privilege. Know when your voice needs to be the one to stand up and when you need to step back for other voices to take the stage. Know that you might have had an easier time because of your ethnicity, your socio-economics, or other life circumstances than someone else.
- While you’re at it: check for your biases. These are the generalizations you make daily. Even ones you’re not aware of.
- Engage your campus. It’s better if it comes from the top down. But there are things around campus you can engage: read diverse books, talk about different life experiences. That the world is not just the campus, the community, or the news.
- Ask for help from the ELA or History experts at your campus. There are ways to provide context and connectivity to lessons currently in discussion.
- Ask your coworkers who are African-American what you can do to help them and their community during this time. It might even be helping that co-worker. Let them know that you see them, hear them, and have their backs.
The problems in the United States will not go away tomorrow. These problems are not unique to the United States but our solution to move to forward will be uniquely American. Our solutions will not change the past, but it will start to remove the barriers that have been oppressive.
We see you. We here you. We are on your side.
ParaEducate is on summer break right now. Do you have any comments about this week’s blog? Do you have a question for us? Would you like to have an opportunity to pilot some materials at your campus? Find ParaEducate online here, here, here, here, and on our website. ParaEducate is a company providing materials, information, and strategies for people working in special education inclusion settings for grades K-12. ParaEducate, the blog, is published during the academic school year on Mondays, unless a holiday or announced day off. ParaEducate shares their findings at conferences, through their books, and their academic adaptations.