Serving One Another, Serving our Students

A note to a teacher I coach. A note to all of us. #theteachertribe

Hey Love.

Hold space for them to share their worries. Reassure them that they are safe with you. That you love them. That everyone you know loves them and they are safe with them too. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by over one million voters. This is not a referendum on hate; it’s a referendum on our system that allows hate to be legitimized by an archaic system.

Had millennials been the only voters, Secretary Clinton would have won by a landslide. Google that for the map image. Show them that image and explain to them how that means the future is safe. We are making huge progress. We just need to keep going.

In the meantime, it’s our job to love and be kind and care for each other. Look in our own hearts and our own homes and our own school to see if we are living the life we claim to want and believe in. If we are contributing to a world we want our children to be raised in. If the values of our school match the values of our teachers and our kids and their families. No? Then we start there.

And then we organize. We band together in solidarity and we fight through and in love. Side by side. You, them, me, and all of us.

Here’s what I know: The degree of darkness in the world is matched by the degree of light. However dark this time is, there are equal parts light willing to fight off that darkness.

You are a part of that light. Trust yourself to know what to do and what to say. You love them. In the end, that’s what they really need to know.

Reach out anytime.

 

Today, We Work.

screenshot-2016-11-10-09-46-04Friends, yesterday we held space. Today, we work.

I got an email from a teacher I used to coach who works in the south. His class is about a 50/50 split in which presidential candidate they and their families supported. The pro-DT half told him they are not racist or sexist and they hate that about the president-elect, but they are pro-gun rights and anti-choice, so he had to be their guy. What should he do, he asks? How does he acknowledge their rights and beliefs and still address that we are in a real problem with regard to how people are already beginning to treat one another on Day 1? I don’t know if I said enough. I don’t know if I said the right things. But this is what I said and this is what I believe and this is what I will fight for until every child in my reach and beyond is treated with respect for who they are. Because that is what we do. #theteachertribe

***

You are in a tough place, friend, and I really appreciate you both being so thoughtful and taking the time to reach out.

A disclaimer, I’m red hot about this issue right now. Yesterday I was sad, today I am mad. Here’s why.

I’m born and bred Bay Area, California; pro-choice and pro-gun control is weaved into my DNA. And, if there was a pro-choice, pro-gun control candidate running for office that said and did the kind of things our president elect has done and said it would not phase me to vote for the other person. To me, basic decency and humanity and the freedom for people to be who they are without worry comes way above anything else, even things that are part of what I believe at my core.

The families who voted for Trump aren’t necessarily racist or sexist or xenophobic. But what they are is complicit. Complicit in the act of putting people, children, in harm’s way. Here’s what I mean: go on to Facebook and look up Shaun King. He is posting post after post of people’s experience with Day 1 of a President Elect Trump. This twitter feed is another place to look https://twitter.com/i/moments/796417517157830656

And this is just a drop in the bucket.

So, no, they aren’t the ones saying all this. They aren’t the ones targeting or harassing or spewing hatred or inciting violence. And, you know that prose we all use when we teach the Holocaust, “First they came for the…then they came for the…then they came for me and there was no one left to speak up for me?” That’s what we’re seeing here. And as long as we allow our privilege to say, “Shit, man, this sucks, but let’s just get on with things and let this go,” then we make it ok for a man who has been called to appear in a pre-trial motion next month for raping a teenager. Women in double digits coming forward talking about how they’ve been assaulted by him. Hundreds of wage workers left destitute because he didn’t pay his bills. This man will be choosing FBI directors and EPA regulators and Supreme Court Justices. And everyone who voted for him will be complicit for the fall out. Just as they are complicit in what children are facing in schools and beyond every day because the adults in this country have made it ok. Truth be told, even those who didn’t vote for him will be complicit if they stay silent. And by they, I mean me too.

Now, how do you have this conversation with kids, you ask? This is the part where you have to take the idea of complacency and bystanders and present it to kids (and your colleagues) in a way that doesn’t make them run away and tell their parents you are insulting them, but does make them think. Think about what we tolerate because “it isn’t happening to me.” We can’t love our country if we don’t love our countrymen, AND our country women, says Senator Cory Booker. And I couldn’t agree more. And loving them means putting that belief in the greater good of humanity above any other policy or political belief. Every. Single. Time.

You have a task in front of you that is daunting as it is important. You are a warrior, friend, and I’m so proud of you for digging deep and stepping into the conversation. You won’t resolve anything but you will offer another very, very important perspective that will seed in their brains and, God willing, grow over time. That is all you can expect from yourself. But do not think that is a small thing. In fact, it is everything.

Big love to you,
Nicole

screenshot-2016-11-10-09-45-48

 

I Have A Confession to Make.

screen-shot-2016-11-04-at-11-18-06-am

I’m an unabashed hater of DT and make no apologies for it. And, I now recognize and admit freely, I have judged those who support him. And judged them deeply, without regard for why they may be buying the “outsider” line, why they tolerate, repeatedly, the ugliness of this man and how he walks in the world.

I’ve had three profound experiences in the last three days that have shown me that mirror. I cannot recommend two episodes highly enough from the podcast On Being, one with Ruby Sales and one with Eboo Patel and Natasha Trethewey. That was day one and two. Day three is this. I’m a huge fan of Van Jones; I think he is smart and courageous and says what I want to say better than I can say it. Here, today, is what he said. “We raise our children on ‘Liberty AND Justice for all’…Those who have a love for justice and those who have a love for liberty, have to work together. We need each other.”

DT is racist and misogynistic and xenophobic. His supporters? I am starting to understand they are not all that way (although some clearly are). They are in pain. I do not agree with them and will never agree with them in the casting aside of DT’s lack of a moral compass most especially because he incites vitriol and feeds their pain with poison. In December. he is going to court to discuss charges of child rape that have been levied against him. CHILD RAPE. No, I will never support him and I will never understand why others do. But the fact that they do, regardless of whether I understand, it is not my place to sit in judgement of them.

Hillary Clinton has earned my vote because, despite the “poop on her shoes” she speaks my language about women and children and justice. She listens and serves and uses her power for the betterment of all. (Including herself. And including some rich bankers who are funding her campaign. I see and smell the poop just like everyone else.) She’s walked the talk as an activist and an attorney and a public servant. She is completely prepared for the duties and responsibilities to be President of the United States.

Others disagree. That does not mean I get to judge them. I need my folks who fight for liberty to balance my deep and abiding desire and fight for justice. I pray that Van Jones and this film clip inspires more of us to have these kind of conversations, where we won’t agree and we don’t hurt one another because we are different. Where we don’t hate one another because we are different. Where we won’t judge someone’s pain because it is not our own. Where we will recognize our shared humanity.

Liberty and Justice for all.

Archives