As this painful week comes to an end, I am left thinking about the children. How are they internalizing what they see on TV? How do we answer their questions?
This week of pain comes at a time already fraught with tension, compounding the destructive force of COVID-19 and the resulting financial crisis that is hitting our most vulnerable and marginalized communities the hardest.
Our collective children are growing up and learning about their world, now with disturbing events unfolding in every direction. I wonder how we explain these times to our children. What will they take away from this point in time? I listened to George Floyd’s second grade teacher remember him as a pleasure to have in class, a quiet boy who liked to sing and wanted to be a Supreme Court justice. I think of all the children at that age, lives innately full of hope, positivity and wonder.
I have also listened to our staff describe painful and anguished conversations they are forced to have with their children. Some of you are having “the talk”, not about the birds and the bees, but rather preparing your children for racism. I am listening to parents soberly explain how the reality of racism affects their own hopes and dreams for their children and what will be required of them as they grow up.
I can’t imagine looking into the eyes of any child, preparing them for hatred. Yet a large portion of our society must explain to their children the limitations they will face.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all be proud of the world into which we have brought our children? It should be a place where they could all feel safe to pursue limitless possibilities, one where there is no need for “talk” to warn that their road will be different, harder and even dangerous.
We must stand in solidarity with those demanding an end to systemic racism and violence. We must do better. We owe our children a better world.
We cannot allow this heartbreaking reality to continue.
Our children are watching.