REAL Talk, story 22

This story was shared by an NPS parent/caregiver.

Image ID: the background of images 1 and 2 is orange (upper one-third) and purple (lower two-thirds), with a large white square with rounded corners overlaying and within that square, this text in purple: “I was surprised to see that they were still teaching Thanksgiving the same (inaccurate and simplistic) way that they did 30 years ago. Our children are more capable of understanding and more sophisticated in their thinking than the current educational status quo allows for. It wasn’t until I was in college and graduate school that I learned ‘the people’s history’ of race relations in our country, and I want the possibility of more depth and understanding for my children, for their generation, and for our country as a whole. It’s time we change the story(ies) to include more voices and more perspectives.”

Image 3 has the same orange/purple split background, with the white text “Story Themes” running up the lower left side and two columns of white boxes (four per column) displaying our eight story themes. Here, the themes Educational Challenges and The Future are emphasized with bright/bold colors.

The candidates speak

[From an email sent to the REAL listserv on October 11, 2021]

Hi all,

Last month we reached out to our town’s School Committee, City Council, and mayoral candidates with a few questions pertaining to race equity in Northampton. 

On September 26 we shared responses from the at-large City Council and mayoral candidates leading up to the preliminary election that narrowed each of those fields. Today we’re sharing responses from School Committee candidates and candidates in all other City Council races, in advance of the municipal election coming up on Tuesday, November 2.

We hope you find this information helpful as you make your decisions about who you would like to hold positions of power locally. Please reach out with any questions–and don’t forget to vote on Nov. 2!

In community,

The REAL Coordinating Team 

p.s. We’re still looking for Spanish translation support–for candidate responses and more broadly. Please email us if this is a service you could provide in some capacity. Thank you!

Reflect, discuss

Prompts for personal reflection and conversation with others:

> What do you experience in your body (sensations), heart (feelings), and/or head (thoughts) on reading the stories we just posted?

> What do these stories make you want to do/say? What feels possible for you to do/say? What feels hard and/or hopeful?

> Who has the power in these stories? Whose voice/s are not being heard?

> What choices might the people in these stories have had–and/or not have had? What is the impact of the choices they make?

> What might they have said or done differently in the moment–or afterward–and what impact might it have had?

REAL Talk, story 21

This story was shared by an NPS parent/caregiver.

Image ID: the background of images 1, 2, and 3 is orange (upper one-third) and purple (lower two-thirds), with a large white square with rounded corners overlaying and within that square, this text in purple: “My daughter recently brought home a letter from her teacher, letting families know that he was reading aloud a chapter book with an upcoming scene of police violence against a person of color. We were told that if we were not comfortable with our child being exposed to the content, our child could leave the classroom during this segment of the read-aloud. At the time, I asked my daughter a bit about the book and if she was comfortable hearing the scene and wanted to stay in the room, to which she said yes. We are a family that talks regularly about race and racism and whiteness and police violence and systems of power, oppression and inequity. So with my daughter’s consent, I think I had a vague thought that, ‘Great, I’m always glad to hear she’s having similar conversations in school,’ before carrying on with the dozen other tasks to be done and without giving the letter, the book or the potential implications much more thought. 

A few weeks later, a conversation about race and racism with a dear friend made me look back on a handful of seemingly innocuous moments like this with a new eye—and with the question, ‘Might I have felt differently, were I and/or my child of the global majority?’ I imagine a range of different reactions people might have had, not simply depending on the color of their skin, but on their particular values and experiences. 

Regardless of the myriad ways any of us might feel and act in everyday exchanges, I am uncomfortably aware that, even as someone who moves through the world consistently looking for how race and whiteness and power play out in every interaction, my White privilege blinds (not to mention protects) me, time and again. It protects me from having to think about how a story of violence against people of the global majority might impact my child’s sense of self and safety in the world. And it blinds me from even recognizing the potential import of countless moments that arise—moments that, for other caregivers and young people, might be full of meaning, fear, rage, disappointment, significance.”

Image 4 has the same orange/purple split background, with the white text “Story Themes” running up the lower left side and two columns of white boxes (four per column) displaying our eight story themes. Here, the theme Lack of Understanding is emphasized with bright/bold colors.

REAL Talk, story 20

This story was shared by an NPS parent/caregiver and NPS teacher/staff member.

Image ID: the background of image 1 is orange (upper one-third) and purple (lower two-thirds), with a large white square with rounded corners overlaying and within that square, this text in purple: “My child’s teacher reads books to the class which have people of color as the main character. Many of these books are not focused on the race of the character, which means these characters are being viewed as complex human beings.”

Image 2 has the same orange/purple split background, with the white text “Story Themes” running up the lower left side and two columns of white boxes (four per column) displaying our eight story themes. Here, the themes The Future and Actions & Strategies are emphasized with bright/bold colors.