Update from Robin Harris: May 31, 2020

Update from Robin Harris: May 31, 2020
Posted on 05/31/2020

Dear FMA Community,

As I watch the news of the recent deaths of unarmed black men and women in Minnesota and around the country, along with numerous protests now taking place, I am reminded of the reality that we do indeed live in a society shaped by systemic racism. Even in our fair city of Cambridge, many marginalized groups of folks are experiencing inequities and disparities in health care, housing and education. I’m not proud to say it, but I know about incidents in CPS and at FMA.

As educators and families, working with and caring for our youngsters, how we have got to come together to discuss and teach issues of race, equity, representation and history in developmentally appropriate ways. We must ask and answer questions like:

  • What messages and information promote positive racial identity for young children?
  • How and when do you teach the historical context of race and racism to our FMA scholars?
  • What are we doing to foster positive racial identities in children of color?
  • How can we engage and partner with our families to do this work?

Here at Fletcher Maynard Academy, we have a duty, an obligation and work together to disrupt and dismantle racism. This year, many of our teachers created lessons that supported the National Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action in February. For the last two years, FMA staff have done professional development sessions, unpacking the work of Zaretta Hammond, focusing on culturally responsive teaching. Another way we can join together is to intentionally and regularly expose our children to books, and movies that include positive portrayal of characters of color. I am sharing a link from Common Sense Media, one that offers a list of age-appropriate books featuring characters of color. This is a good step to help offset negative images and stereotypes.

I would also encourage folks to join our last FMA Courageous Conversation for the year on June 9th at 6PM. We would love to have as many people as possible help us think about concrete steps we can do to move the FMA community forward with the work. Join Zoom meeting >>

And finally, I invite FMA families to join, “Wee Chalk the Walk: A Family Day of Action for Black Lives”, to chalk messages of love, hope and support on our city sidewalks.

For our older children and adults, there will be a vigil taking place at Hoyt Field (my neighborhood) on Monday, 4 - 6PM to support the “We Can’t Breathe” movement.

It will take all of us working together to make a difference for the students of FMA and the city of Cambridge. Helping our students to become the change makers we so desperately need.

In unity,

Robin

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