Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Dear Spruce Community,
In the past few months, our focus at Spruce has been on keeping our community moving forward together, as we grappled with remote learning and social distancing, and what the future would bring. But while the teachers, Board of Directors, and I have been laser-focused on making Spruce@home work, and strategizing ways to move forward safely, another battle has been raging, one that is as old as our country, and as current as the killing of George Floyd.
Our country is at an inflection point. Racial inequities that have long been glossed over are being exposed for the embedded, systemic societal failings that they are. Black people in our city are being affected at more than 3 times the rate than white Bostonians are by Covid-19. Black people are being killed by police officers at more than twice the rate of white perpetrators. And Americans, particularly young Americans, are standing up, and saying enough is enough.
I am of a generation that remembers when we were here before. The civil rights movement of the 1960s set the stage for the protests and unrest that we are experiencing today. But many of my generation have grown complacent and, as passive bystanders, we have allowed systemic racism to fester. Disparities in the way people are treated because of the color of their skin have always existed in our country, but those of us who acknowledged the injustice relied on our belief that if we weren't actively racist, we were not part of the problem. The time has come for white people to recognize that it's not enough to not be part of the problem, we need to be part of the solution.
Many of us have done some work around recognizing our own privilege. At Spruce, teachers have participated in trainings on identifying implicit bias and white privilege, and as a community, we've had conversations about how to talk about race with young children. But self-reflection and conversation is not enough. It is insufficient to recognize our privilege, though it is a first step. We need to be actively anti-racist. We need to demonstrate, through action, our commitment to making our society just.
Often as parents we find ourselves framing information for our children after something scary or confusing has happened. But we have an opportunity, as parents of young children, to be proactive; to impact the way our children perceive themselves, one another, people who look like them, and people who look different. I was brought up to be color-blind, and probably many of you were too. While on the surface this seems like an equitable approach, it inherently discounts the different experiences of white people and people of color. Recognizing that people look different is a natural part of development and an opportunity for conversation and appreciation.
Here are some of the ways Spruce is committed to elevating the conversation about inequity into action:
We will incorporate anti-racist training into our orientation for staff this fall
We will host an annual workshop/lecture for the community to support raising an anti-racist generation
We will critically evaluate our practice and our materials to be more mindful of implicit bias and the way people of color are portrayed
We will initiate a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee to help us explore further ways we can actively diversify our community and fight racism. Parent volunteers welcome!
As we all reflect on ways that we can be part of the change that is necessary to create an anti-racist generation, I am attaching a few resources. Many thanks to Maple Teacher Eliza Hoover for compiling this list for us!
Though there is so much work to be done, this is a hopeful time. Change is in the air, in the parks, and on the streets. Let's help our children to be part of this change, and to be instrumental in fighting systemic racism for their lifetime, and for generations to come. Black Lives Matter.
Christie Guevin, Executive Director
Spruce Street Nursery School Board
Caroline Hayes, Board Chair
Spruce Street Nursery School Teachers and Staff
Elizabeth Stover Starrett
Talk to Your Kids
How to talk to your kids about racism. https://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2020/06/02/teach-talk-children-racism-violence-protests-race
Teach About Social Justice
The Conscious Kid
Parents, please preview. Black Lives Matter Instructional Library with YouTube links to read aloud books
Do the Work
Justice in June - a starting place for individuals trying to become better allies.
Support Black-Owned Businesses
How Your Business Can Help