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What Are You Doing For Humanity?

I love news and information! I read the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and my local paper religiously. I am that mom who listened to National Public Radio in the car so much that my children often hummed the theme song for Morning Edition as I dropped them off for school and casually said good-bye to me and their Uncle Bob (Bob Edwards, former Morning Edition host). It was not until my children had vacated the nest, that I had the luxury of being able to watch the PBS News Hour regularly. And I was lucky enough to begin watching when two amazing journalists hosted the program, Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff. Gwen died in 2016 and I have been so grateful to Judy for continuing on solo after the loss of her colleague and friend.


Judy Woodruff has always been an amazing journalist because she notices us humans and our behaviors and is willing to invite us into a conversation about who we are and what we are doing. When I sat down on March 13th to watch the PBS News Hour, I was disheartened and sad as so many things were showing up along with COVID-19. I heard fear converted to suspicion and xenophobic comments towards people of Asian Heritage. I saw some of the unkindness in the world as a neighbor rushed past and let me know how pleased they were to get all of the remaining paper towels at our neighborhood grocery store. Judy went through the entire newscast delivering the news (much of it frightening) with her usual professionalism. Then she got to the end. She shifted in her seat and she looked calmly into the camera and noted how many humans were being kind and caring for others in this time of anxiety and worry. Then she finished with these words:


Some of us are acting in ways that could unintentionally end up hurting others. Grocery store and pharmacy shelves that were piled high with toilet paper, Kleenex, and paper towels are now empty. Several days ago people started running and buying all the hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes they could. It's understandable we want to keep ourselves and our families safe. But it also worth remembering that this is a time for the lucky healthy ones to think of others. Maybe there is an elderly couple who didn't get to the store as early as they wanted. Perhaps someone with a disability or a weakened immune system could not get there at all. This is a moment for Americans to show our best qualities. We are going to work our way through this let's keep others who may not be as strong and resilient as we are in mind, too.


With her elegant manner and curated words, Judy Woodruff asked us all to do better; to think beyond ourselves. Judy's comments inspired this question:

WHAT ARE YOU DOING FOR HUMANITY?


In schools, educators know the importance of offering students authentic real-world opportunities to be additive. What if we transform a time of fear and anxiety into a time of empowerment and change making? Okay, I know someone out there is saying yeah right!?! How am I going to do that while planning for digital learning and taking care of all the people I hold dear? I hear you and let's try anyway (isn't that what we encourage children to do?). During our time away from our schools, l I will post authentic and relevant questions that we can offer to our pre-K through 12th grade children. I can't wait to see what we all learn.


Here's are the first two questions:

Stopping the Spread

What could you make to support the efforts to curb the transmission of COVID-19? Share your ideas on this board.


Start with this comic that offers the facts about how to stop the virus from spreading.


Need some more inspiration? Here are some things that other people have made:

  • Beto Fernandez and Paco Conde, founders of Activista, used their art skills to create 6 Feet Covers as a reminder to stay six feet apart to reduce the chances of potentially sharing COVID-19 with other people.

  • Ugandan pop star and politician Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu collaborated with Nubian Li to create this song to educate people about COVID-19 and how to prevent it.

  • Folks with sewing skills are using those skills to create masks for people working in hospitals. Find the story of these creators here.

My thanks to Ellen McGirt for her inspiring newsletter, Race Ahead. The first two examples come from her March 26th compilation.


Creating and Cultivating Community

Many people describe their school community as a "strong" community where all are welcomed and have a sense of belonging. In this interview three students of Asian heritage outline what they are seeing and hearing in their school community.


How will you respond to social media posts and conversations with your peers in ways that support all students feeling like they are part of your school community? Share your creative thoughts here.


Originally Published on March 26, 2020

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