Encouraging Conversations about Equity, Empathy, and Racism

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October 19, 2016 by wchptsa

Today over sixty White Center Heights educators wore #BlackLivesMatter shirts to school, joining over two thousand other Seattle educators to stand against racism in our schools.

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White Center Heights educators, October 19.  Several additional staff wore the shirts but are not pictured here! We’ll post a more complete group picture soon.

The following is the letter the staff sent home to parents explaining their choice to wear the shirts:

A majority of teachers and staff at White Center Heights have decided to join together with teachers across the Seattle school district and throughout the Puget Sound region on Wednesday October 19th, 2016 in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.  We will be wearing “We Stand Together: Black Lives Matter” t-shirts to show our support.  Participating staff will also be hosting age appropriate discussions and dialogue with our students regarding equity, empathy, and racism in light of current events.

This event is a personal choice on behalf of teachers, paraeducators, office staff and administration at White Center Heights.  Those choosing not to participate do so for a variety of reasons and we fully respect and support their decision to do so.  This event has not been endorsed by the Highline School Board, the Highline Education Association, or the Highline School District.

We want to be clear in stating that our support for Black Lives Matter does not exclude any other groups. We value all of our students.  We love our community and are 100% committed to serving all of our students. We also respect the sacrifices and commitment of law enforcement and appreciate everything they do to keep our communities safe.

We believe that all people should be treated equal under the law no matter the color of their skin, the language they speak or the religion they practice.

The White Center Heights PTA delivered pastries and a card to the staff meeting this morning in a show of support.  As the students were dropped off by buses and families this morning they were greeted by waving teachers and staff, many holding signs and banners. Parents honked and waved in support of the staff, and some students came to school in “Black Lives Matter” shirts of their own design.

At the bell, everyone headed in for another day of school, one that will certainly be marked by a lot of thoughtful conversations.  We support our teachers and staff as they nurture all the children in the WCH community.

If you’d like resources to support conversations at home about these issues, check out these articles from the local magazine ParentMap on talking to kids about racism.

https://www.parentmap.com/article/racism-how-talk-child-family

https://www.parentmap.com/article/united-states-racism-family-advice

https://www.parentmap.com/article/racism-families-push-for-racial-justice

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