In 2019, REAL began soliciting NPS community members’ stories about their experiences of race, racism, and whiteness in our district. Since then, a lot has emerged in stories shared with us by students, educators, and parents/caregivers: hope, resistance, solidarity. Hurt, fear, anxiety. Gratitude. Disappointment. Surprise.
Sharing our experiences can help us understand each other and the landscape. It can clue us into what is needed if we’re to build a school district that is anti-racist in practice. A district that has genuine acceptance, respect, and love for all people as a recognizable part of its identity.
Initially our plan was to create a physical exhibit using the stories collected. When the pandemic hit and schools went remote in March 2020, we pressed pause on the project. In January 2021 we decided to transfer the exhibit to Instagram.
The format is straightforward: story posts each contain a single story (note: all stories are anonymous and shared with the submitters’ permission), which is paired with associated themes (see next post on that). Following each story is a post (“?”) with some potential prompts for personal reflection and conversation with others.
Not on Instagram? No worries—you’ll also be able to find all REAL Talk posts here on our blog.
Looking ahead, we’re connecting with art teachers and others across the district to develop a student-led visual component of REAL Talk (think: zines! protest art workshops!), as well as working with consultants to develop a guide to help us all engage with one another on the topics and themes of the stories. Stay tuned.
Also: story collection is ongoing! We welcome stories from anyone with a connection to NPS.
Thanks for joining us; we look forward to learning and building together.