With Monday’s news of the massacre in Las Vegas, coming on the heels of the Stockley verdict and many other tragic events, I find myself reflecting almost obsessively on what in the world we must do to shift the trajectory of our dear country and our beloved city. The violence, overt racism, and tragedy that have occurred over the past several weeks have been overwhelming.
As I contemplate what our collective actions might look like during this trying time, I am reminded why I joined the work of City Garden thirteen years ago: If we want to change our society, we must invest vigorously in the way our children are formed and educated.
If we want an end to violence and hate, we must teach and love our children in a way that ensures this.
At City Garden, we believe that racial equity, dignity for all people, and care for the natural world can and will be achieved by growing generations of individuals whose physical, intellectual, social, and emotional needs are deeply met; who have meaningful relationships with people who are different from them; who understand systemic racism and other injustices, grounded in an honest examination of our society’s history; who embody confidence and self-understanding; and who feel connected and accountable to a larger community.
We believe that children who are nurtured and educated in environments that are committed to all of these things will serve as catalysts for institutional and cultural transformation. We believe this is a critical part of the path to equity and freedom for all people.
So today, and every day, we recommit to this work.
As we digest and process yet another violent tragedy, we also recommit to being together in community. We will keep engaging in courageous conversations. We will keep connecting with one another.
Teaching Tolerance is one of the resources we turn to often for ideas about how to navigate difficult events and courageous conversations. In Teaching Tolerance’s article “When Bad Things Happen: Help Kids Navigate Our Sometimes-Violent World,” Sean McColllum tells the story of Jaspreet Singh, a high school student whose Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin had been attacked by white supremacists, and how her school and community became an important space for healing. Singh and her classmates created a diversity garden dedicated to the shooting victims. At the dedication, Singh read a poem she had written for the occasion:
Although it took the tragic day of August 5, 2012 to strengthen our community,
step by step,
day by day,
we are bonding closer.
and to represent.
May we continue to invest vigorously in our children and their future, so that they may lead the way to a better world.