As a PTA, we need to say that we see and acknowledge the particular pain, anger, and trauma that so many of our Black students and families and community members of color are feeling following the recent police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. We recognize that there are many more victims of systemic racism and police violence. We as a group are deeply committed to equity and social and racial justice. We stand against racism, bias, and prejudice in all forms and believe that all Black Lives Matter today and every day.
We support peaceful protest, free speech, and social activism against racism. Our work as PTA of the only majority Black school in our district has long centered on advocacy and equity for Seth Boyden students. As uprisings against systemic racism and racist policing sweep our nation, addressing the needs of our students and listening to the voices of our Black families will continue to be at the forefront of our work.
While we are lucky to have two school songs (the Seth Boyden Community Song and the Seth Boyden Cheer), we also have a third song that every student learns and sings together: Lift Every Voice and Sing, the Black national anthem (listen to our students sing the Black national anthem).
Mrs. Glander and Ms. Murphy sent out this message from our school leadership and your child’s individual teacher should have been in touch with tools and resources to support your at-home discussions about the protests, police violence, and the racism and white supremacy in this country.
You can read our district’s response by clicking here.
You can read the National PTA’s response by clicking here.
See below for information about a district parent workshop about talking to our children.
As parents, our PTA members have been using books and web resources as tools and catalysts for conversations about race and racism. Learning to talk about race and white privilege and systemic racism is not easy but is an essential step on the journey to being the change we want to see and to raising our children to be committed to equity and justice.
Here are some tools and resources from our parent community:
- Talking about Race: a web portal from the National Museum of African American History and Culture with tools and guidance to inspire your journey and inspire conversation (with thanks to Seth Boyden parent Pamela Fonju for sharing this resource).
- Teaching Tolerance: a website with activities and texts.
- Helping Kids Process Violence, Trauma, and Race in a World of Nonstop News: a video discussion from Common Sense Media.
- Kidlit Rally 4 Black Lives: a recording of an online rally organized by Jacqueline Woodson, Kwame Alexander, Jason Reynolds, and the Brown Bookshelf that contains anti-racist resources for children, families, and educators.
- South Orange-Maplewood Community Coalition on Race’s Racial Equity and Anti-Racism Resources: tools and resources for educating yourself and for talking to children about race from a local racial justice organization.
Books are a valuable tool and can be revisited multiple times. With libraries closed, it is often possible to access these books for free via YouTube. Simply search “(book name) read aloud” and you will likely find a video of it. With thanks to Ms. Fakhoury, 4th Grade Teacher, for this book list.
- Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes
- Something Happened In Our Town * this book is specifically about a man being shot in the neighborhood and talking to kids in the book about it
- March: Graphic Novel
- Let’s Talk About Race by Julius Lester
- Not My Idea: A Book about Whiteness
- A Kid’s Book About Racism
- We Came to America
- The Power Book: What is it? Who Has it and why?
- The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander
- Most People
- Enough!: 20 Protestors Who Changed America
- Race Cars: A Book about White Privilege