Dear friends, 

These past few weeks have been heavy. Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Tony McDade have become household names. Each of them either went to sleep or left their homes, wanting to wake up or return home alive. At first, I was paralyzed with a sense of despair my bones already knew, and still today, I wish I did not know loss so well.

As I have been writing my book, White Rules For Black People, I have been reflecting on my racialized experiences, and through recounting and writing them, I am experiencing them all over--the slights, the dismissals, the bullying, and the discrimination--and all I feel some days is a perpetual loss--a loss of spirit, sleep, creativity, and life.

A white coworker wrote me the other day, as many of my white friends have been doing during this time, to check in and to apologize for white people's wrongdoings over the years. I wrote back and shared an NPR podcast on policing and reminded her that policing also happens at institutions. It just looks differently. 

In the end, I shared this, "I do not want apologies or love. I want action and change. I want to wake up and not have to learn new names to remember, to march for, to mourn." 

What will you do for an anti-racist future?

In solidarity,
How To Be An Antiracist Educator

I wrote this ASCD's Education Update Newsletter in October 2019, but after recent events, it has re-surfaced; so, I am sharing with you again as well. I share five steps to begin your journey to becoming an anti-racist educator as well as some ideas for applying an anti-racist lens to your instruction and interactions with students.

Other Goodies on Race and Equity

My alma mater, Middlebury College, republished a reflection I wrote on race, equality, and humanity in 2015 entitled, We Cannot Afford To Walk Away. Sadly, this piece is as relevant as it was when I wrote it 5 years ago.

Another piece I wrote has re-surfaced. It is another ASCD article in their Education Update Newsletter, Why We Cannot Afford Whitewashed Social-Emotional Learning.

I wrote a new piece for ASCD's Educational Leadership magazine, If We Aren't Addressing Racism, We Aren't Addressing Trauma. Here is a sentence from the piece:
  • Just imagine the damage done to our Black students’ psyches when, at school, they are made invisible in academic content and yet blaringly visible through oversurveillance and policing.

Out In These Streets

Well, I am not really "out in these streets," but I have still been doing fruitful work with school districts via video-conferencing on self-care, healing, and equity-responsive practices in the time of corona. It has been awesome to connect and engage with educators all over the states, as we all make sense of our new normal. 

Here is an interview that I did with Leadership for Educational Equity.

Here is a Vox piece, where some folks I respect deeply and I were interviewed.

Antiracist resources
  • The Greater Good Science Center complied a list of resources.
  • Fortune compiled a great list as well.
  • NPR has compiled some great books and podcasts.
  • Edutopia has compiled some resources for equity and anti-racism.
  • This are scaffolded anti-racist resources.
There are so many more resources on the Internet. Google is your friend.

A Call To Action

In my recent piece, If We Aren't Addressing Racism, We Aren't Addressing TraumaI wrote:

  • "We cannot tweet away racism. We cannot read away racism. We cannot intervention away racism. We cannot breathe away racism. Educators, and especially white teachers, have to roll up their sleeves, look within themselves, sit with discomfort, reflect on what they can do better, and then live and teach with racial justice as their guiding principle. This work starts with us, but it cannot end with us. It must include dismantling old oppressive systems and structures and building anew."

I end this newsletter with how I began, asking you, "What will you do for an antiracist future?"

Copyright © 2020 Dena Simmons, All rights reserved.

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