THE INTERRUPTER: Your Write to Education | February 14, 2020
For the Love of Justice, For the Love of Every Child Whole
“Oh, the injustice that the caterpillar would never become the butterfly.” That quote captures my heart for this Valentine’s Day. February 14, the middle or the heart of what we refer to as Black History Month.
I love black history. I love the richness it represents, the hiddenness that continues to be unearthed. And what I love as much or more than celebrating black history, is making black history. I decided to sit down recently and break down the words black and history. Immediately I was challenged with the word black. I have many friends of different African ethnicities and none of them are black. It’s more a myriad of beautiful shades of brown and then again, I have African friends that are more peachy creme, but that is not what this is about just sharing my thought process. Then, I looked at the word history. History, what is it? The record of contributions made, legacy left? Maybe the proof that someone was ever here. To me, black history is not only the culmination of a sea of stories past – some happy, some sad, some tragic, some victorious – but representative of a people group, self-identified or otherwise, with a collective human yearning to simply have the right to belong, to exist, to be present in the truth of who they are and who is anyone else to deny it.
After my time of reflection, I sat with the realization of my heaviness and sadness. Children in high poverty, high minority schools are being denied every day. There are reports from these schools that show single-digit proficiency in reading and math and I ask myself how can this be true, how could this continue to be allowed? It’s easy to place blame, or point fingers. I don’t think it is the school‘s fault in totality although they have a huge responsibility, but a systemically-orchestrated coming together of a tragic set of circumstances.
There is a quote that says “things that can’t go on forever, won’t.” I think we are here. Would you agree? The tasks before us seems overwhelming and bewildering at best, but we can’t stay bewildered, we have to start somewhere and we have to start now. It seems too often we have allowed ourselves to be lulled into a place of complacency accepting incentivized failure as the norm.
We create and manipulate systems and formulas so that we can continue receiving funding for the “disenfranchised”, when all the disenfranchised want is the freedom to create their own funds.
What message do we think this type of behavior is sending to hundreds of thousands of children? We don’t have to say a word, their spirit hears us loud and clear. “Your story is not worth being told. You will never make history, black or otherwise.” are a couple of suspicions that come to mind. What would you hear if it were you? And be clear, I am not saying this is only limited to children of color, but more so than not, at least where I come from.
At Every Child Whole, LLC and our non-profit affiliate, ReThink Learning, Inc. we are on a mission to help Johnny. Johnny represents children who continue to be pulled into the cyclical undercurrent of learned helplessness, broken systems, and those who leverage that combination. It is past time in education to offer children a solid foundation they can build on. Help them reduce the fragmentation in their own lives so that can begin to put their pieces together. It’s not just their path they are paving forward, it’s yours, and it’s mine.
Well, what about you? Does justice pulse in your veins like it does mine? If so, we would love to hear what you are doing to help Johnny and would love to share some of our ideas with you. Tell us about it at https://wp.me/P9K3eM-1aK.
“Oh, the injustice that the caterpillar would never become the butterfly.” Dr. Ivy Bonk
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Author and presenter Dr. Ivy Bonk is Educational Psychologist/Consultant with Every Child Whole, Inc. (formerly IMAGINAL Education Group) and founder of ReThink Learning, Inc.