It’s hard to turn on the television and watch events like the ones that recently took place in Charlottesville, Virginia. It’s even harder to explain to our children why the events are happening.
While we are outraged by the overt racism of the white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the KKK, this is not the only reason to be upset. The leaders of the Civil Rights Movement lessened the overt racism in our society. Unfortunately, as we know, the covert (under the surface) racism continued – the racial slurs, hiring based on last name, mass incarceration, and the countless other struggles that people of color face every day. To be upset about the KKK and other hate groups is easy. To stand up to systemic racism is much harder and demands strong leadership.
Therefore, we need our young leaders to build on the work and stand on the shoulders of the great individuals before them. We need our leaders to rise up against violence and injustice and say “That’s not right and I’m here to do something about it!”
In 1947, at the age of 18, Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote an essay for his Morehouse College campus newspaper. In the article, “The Purpose of Education,” King stated:
“To save man from the morass of propaganda, in my opinion, is one of the chief aims of education. Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction.”
As educators, we will do our part to support the development of the assets of our young leaders. Together we will partner with our parents and community to stand against racism and the continued struggles of inequality faced by the underserved.