Message from Chad Leith: January 7, 2021

Dear Morse School parents and caregivers,

The events we witnessed yesterday in Washington DC were deeply unsettling. For many members of our Morse School community - particularly for families who may have experienced similar examples of armed insurrection in their countries of origin - yesterday's events may have triggered feelings of fear and uncertainty. While we are all heartened that order was restored and that Congress was able to certify the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, the incident highlighted uncomfortable realities - among them the way in which race can shape outcomes during times of social crisis. There is no doubt in my mind that had those scaling the walls of our Capitol Building been members of the Black Lives Matter movement, the initial response would have been significantly more forceful and violent. As many have noted in the press and social media, the fact that our nation's leader could so openly reference the white protesters who stormed the Capitol as "special," after months of referring to black and brown protesters who call for racial justice as "thugs," reflects a dangerous racist distinction that has historical roots. Our children see and internalize this double standard, and the conclusions they draw over time about who has value and who belongs are damaging to all children, regardless of race. As educators and parents we need to be intentional about how we reassure them and how we help them process. It is also important that we renew our collective commitment to developing their awareness of the ways in which racist messages in our society serve to perpetuate and reinforce white supremacy while devaluing and disempowering communities of color.

Ms. Headley and I have encouraged our teachers to create age-appropriate spaces today for children to discuss their thoughts and feelings about yesterday's events and to ask questions they may have. For our families of color, I'd like to remind you that the Morse School Parents of Color Affinity Group (Familia Umoja) will be holding its first meeting of the new year this evening from 6:30-7:45pm, with special guest Cambridge School Committee Member Ayesha Wilson (please see this flyer for more information). For more information about the group, and about opportunities for parents and caregivers of all backgrounds to engage in the work of active antiracism, please visit the Race & Equity page on the Morse School website.

Thank you for your commitment and collaboration as we continue to support our children's healthy growth and development during these challenging times.

Sincerely,

Chad
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