AN OPEN LETTER

on Racism and Resources from Fiddlehead

June 11, 2020

Dear Fiddlehead Community,

We have been searching for words to express how we feel about the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. We are heartbroken and we are angry. These recent deaths are not isolated incidents, but rather visible examples of persistent and ongoing violence against people of color. Fiddlehead condemns racism in all its forms, from sweeping systemic and institutional racism to microaggressions and bias that Black, Indigeneous, and People of Color face on a daily basis. As a predominately White school community, we grieve and stand in solidarity with our staff, students, and parents of color. 

Fiddlehead’s Diversity Statement commits our school to being “a safe community for all students, their families, and employees regardless of race and skin color…” More so, we “understand that creating a diverse and accepting community also means working to educate ourselves and one another and to address bias.” It is not enough to claim to celebrate diversity—we must own and explore all the uncomfortable spaces that will enable us to learn more, do better, and create a more authentic anti racist community. Our commitment also embraces advocacy and the challenge of discrimination.

As a school, we commit to:

  1. Embrace the discomfort and be brave and honest in examining our strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for growth

  2. Listen to and learn from our direct BIPOC community members and the larger community of people of color 

  3. Continue to review, update, and write school policy that is inclusive and antiracist through our Board’s Diversity Committee

  4. Grow our curriculum, materials, field trips, and celebrations with an inclusive and antiracist lens

  5. Seek out additional training for teachers and staff around anti-racist teaching practices and leading developmentally appropriate conversations about race and racism

  6. Work to understand and acknowledge barriers to attendance and make our public charter school inviting and inclusive to diverse families 

Fiddlehead invites and encourages families to join us in the work of anti-racism actions and education. As protests continue, many parents are wondering how to talk to their children about racism and social unrest. Below you will find a list of resources that may help you have these crucial conversations with your children. We know that children see and reflect on racial differences from an early age—it is adult discomfort that impedes discussions with children who are by nature curious, open, and ready to engage their hearts and minds. 

For those adults in our community who would like to continue their own exploration of race, racism, priviledge, and ways to affect change, the Diversity Committee will be seeking to offer opportunities to expand adult education for parents and staff. This past winter, the PTO and Diversity Committee together offered a book reading and discussion of White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo, from which a community group has sprung. We plan to offer a second round of this book discussion for those who were unable to attend. If you wish to participate in this discussion and community group please email pennyc@fiddleheadschool.org. There are additional resources for adults below. 

It is true that we are living in uncertain times, and the weight and responsibility of it is heavy. However, we have also been given an opportunity to lean in and grow as learners, as a community, and as a people. When we feel unsure of the next right step, or how to possibly move this mountain, we have confidence that time invested in our children is always well spent. 

Please join us in coming together to bear witness to the pain of our community members of color, to educate ourselves on becoming better allies, and to contribute to meaningful change. Fiddlehead commits to communicating our progress on these efforts, and we invite you to share yours as well. There is much to be done. 

In partnership, and with love,

Fiddlehead Board Diversity Committee and Administration Team

Resources for talking with children about race: 

Live Discussion and Book Launch: Raising Anti Racist Kids with Ibram X Kendi (June 18)

How to talk to kids about race and racism with a social emotional development lens

Anti Racism Books for kids

Anti Racism resources by Denver Public Library

Coming Together: Standing Up to Racism. A CNN/Sesame Street Town Hall for Kids and Families Racism and Violence: How to Help Kids Handle the News – from the Child Mind Institute

Beyond the Golden Rule

The White Families’ Guide For Talking About Racism – Read Like A Rockstar

Social Justice (National Association of School Psychologists)

Talking Race with Young Children (National Public Radio)

 

Guidance on being an ally to people of color and supporting marginalized communities:

A guide to how you can support marginalized communities

 

Documentaries and Podcasts:

Access to free streaming films about race in America

Filmmakers list of race related movies and films

1619 – The New York Times

Code Switch – NPR

Intersectionality Matters – AAPF

Seeing White – Scene On Radio

When They See Us – Netflix 

 

Books for adult allies: 

Blind Spot: Hidden Biases of Good People by Mahzarin Banaji

So You Want To Talk About Race? by Ijeoma Oluo

Raising White Kids by Jennifer Harvey

Waking Up White by Debby Irving

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo

How to Be An Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi

 

Books for learning about the complexities of racism:

When They Call You a Terrorist, A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors

Indigenous People’s History of the US by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown

This Will Be My Undoing by Morgan Jenkins

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi