Statement: Responding to Charlottesville and Racism in America
New Teacher Center’’s CEO Ellen Moir Message to NTC Staff on the racism in Charlottesville:
This weekend, racism once again became the image of our country. The events in Charlottesville and the gathering of white supremacists is abhorrent and has left many shocked that such a thing could happen in America. Yet, should we be so shocked by the weekend’s events? The truth is that this type of systemic oppression and racism is not new to our nation, though we have seen it escalate in recent months. The oppression of certain races, religions, and sexes is a part of our history. We can’t change our history—it’s our reality. But we can acknowledge and learn from it.
I want you to know that our work is a key part of this narrative shift. Hate is not a part of our DNA; it’s something you learn. It’s something that students, young children learn. We at NTC have the opportunity to make sure that students are in classrooms with teachers who affirm, empower, and unite them. When we empower teachers with the support and resources to effectively recognize and address student differences, whether cultural or academic, students are better able to recognize their own strengths. We can then begin to move from fear to kindness.
There is always work to do. To support teachers and students, I invite you to not only use resources from our partner in this work, Facing History and Ourselves, to learn how to initiate a conversation with your students on these events, but to also follow the online conversation #CharlottesvilleCurriculum for additional resources.
Change can begin in the classroom. Together, we can make it happen.