Statement Responding to Murder of George Floyd
June 1, 2020 – Adam Jacobi, Executive Director; with affirmation by Kam-Lin Roswall, Board Chair; and Pam Belden, Chair-Elect.
When the spring semester was disrupted by an extraordinary pandemic, COVID-19 presented us with a “current new normal” for how we educate young people. However, last week’s senseless murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis unfortunately is an occurrence too normal for too long in our country. To Black students, alumni, coaches, and adjudicators in the WHSFA community – and their loved ones: we see you, we hear you, and we stand with you as you face the pain of centuries of oppression and racism in our country that we continue to see today.
As a society we often only pay lip-service to addressing racism, claiming approaches like “colorblindness” to avoid confronting how we truly do see color. Instead, we must embrace race to understand and appreciate different lived experiences, particularly those targeted by systemic violence. Theatre, speech, and debate activities are driven by literary material and topics of current relevance. Our students express themselves in meaningful ways to tell their truths, to share important stories, and to make us think. For those of us who have lived privileged, comfortable lives, many of these stories and topics will make us feel uncomfortable. Discomfort, however, is the only way we can grow.
Our WHSFA community must work for equity, diversity, and inclusion. We must make our activities more accessible, supportive, and empowering for students, coaches, and adjudicators of color, and we must be accountable to ensure they have a safe space free of bigotry.
All of this starts with us listening, particularly to individuals from marginalized populations who have not been given a voice or a seat at the table.
In the forthcoming Summer 2020 newsletter to be released this first week of June, we will include information on resources for teaching, directing, and coaching, related to race and social justice.
Resources for Educators
- Anti-Racism Resources for White People
- Antiracist Reading List (NY Times)
- An Anti-Racist Children’s and YA Reading List (Publishers Weekly) [Middle Level-appropriate]
- Anti-Racism (Simmons Univ. Library)
- How White People Can Hold Each Other Accountable to Stop Institutional Racism (Teen Vogue)
- Racial Justice is Education Justice
- Five Ways to Show Up for Racial Justice Today
- For Our White Friends Desiring to be Allies
- Resources for Accountability and Actions for Black Lives
- Stop Asking People Of Color To Explain Racism
- Examining Whiteness: An Anti-Racism Curriculum
- Reflecting on George Floyd’s Death and Police Violence Toward Black Americans
- SpeakOut Summer Institute ($49; Jul. 13-16, 2020)
- Film: Just Mercy (streaming online, free)
- How to Talk to Kids About Racism (La Crosse Tribune)