As educators, we are called to respond to expressions of bias and racism in ourselves and others.
To all of our students, families, and colleagues of color, we see your pain and hear your frustration when your calls for action against racial injustice are met with little to no change. Listening combined with critical dialogue and concrete action are required to be active designers of a better tomorrow.
Our school communities are in the midst of two insidious struggles, one a longstanding battle against systemic racial injustice and violence, as most recently witnessed in the tragic death of George Floyd, and the other against a global pandemic. Both have revealed long-seated inequities across the country, but that disproportionately harm our black students. And black educators, who are dealing with their own emotions of the situation, are now taking on the work of helping students process their feelings and engage in active conversations, all while still being in touch with students only through screens. While each of our school communities has been impacted differently by this past week’s events, as global citizens we are responsible for condemning and combatting acts of racism and hate wherever they occur.
While there is much uncertainty and division in the world today, what we know unequivocally is the power of educators to make a profound impact on our students’ lives and futures. As stated in our foundational text, This We Believe, it is our duty as educators to support our students as they become self-actualized people who are “actively aware of the larger world, asking significant and relevant questions about that world and wrestling with big ideas and questions for which there may not be one right answer.” We encourage our educator colleagues to be agents of positive change by helping students understand, grapple with, and take an active role in overcoming the most daunting challenges facing our world. This starts with first reflecting on our own biases, privileges, and assumptions as well as our relationships with our students, their families, and the communities in which we work.
We know that this is not an easy task. AMLE is committed to be an ally and advocate in the continuing fight for racial equity and social progress around the world. Initially, we aim to take the following action:
- Empower middle school educators with resources to implement equitable and anti-racist policies and practices within their schools.
- Equip middle school educators with tools to identify and address the racialized trauma so many of our students are currently experiencing.
- Contribute to improved dialogue, in part by amplifying the voices of students and educators of color through our publications and professional development events.
- Ensure that equitable best practices are a central theme woven throughout the updated edition of our foundational text, known over the years as This We Believe, to be released this fall.
- Form partnerships with stakeholders that serve young adolescents to take meaningful, collective action to advance equity and combat racism
We commit to reporting to our membership regularly our progress toward accomplishing these actions.
Finally, we encourage our members to help us in this work by contributing your perspectives through articles, suggesting resources and tools that would support educators in this work, and providing recommendations on how we, as the voice of middle school educators around the world, can do better.
We hope you and your families stay well and safe during these unprecedented times.
AMLE Board of Trustees