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AntiRacism and You

Last August Ibram Kendi published his memoir/guide to antiracism, How To Be An Antiracist. In recent weeks post the extrajudicial murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other Black people that have not gotten as much attention, educators, parents, and students in our schools are seeking to become antiracist.

For some people being antiracist means reading books about the Black experience. For others it means protesting institutional racism and aligning themselves with Black Lives Matter. What does being an antiracist mean for you?

A starting place is a working definition of an antiracist. Kendi offers this: "one who is supporting an antiracist policy through their actions or expressing an antiracist idea." (Kendi, 2019). Simple. Action-oriented. Thoughtful. Expressive.

Kendi's definition connects with Jonathan Osler's continuum which gives you another way to look at the work of being an antiracist. You can determine where you are on this continuum and determine what you are willing to do.

We have seen what many people are willing to do. People are willing to protest in the streets during a pandemic about another pandemic. People are willing to write letters to their peers with how they really feel about all those phone calls and emails asking what should I do. People are evaluating their unearned advantage and stepping aside.

Those of us here at Folks of Color in Schools (FOCIS pronounced "Focus") are committed to hosting antiracist educator spaces this Fall. Look for more information in September.

We also want to acknowledge and elevate those that have been at the work of antiracism for their entire lives. We see you and we are grateful for your life's work.

We want to hear what you are willing to do. Please reach out via social media, email, or phone to share.

Be well in your work because our children cannot wait.

Originally published June 15, 2020.

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