The 2020 U. S. elections have ended and the current President has been defeated. And at MnEEP, we are taking a moment to breathe a sigh of relief. But we know our work together isn’t done. We ask that you join us, in a recommitment to building racial equity, as we work to move forward from the trauma of the past four years under the current president.
During his tenure, we watched in fear as he pandered to hate and promoted and carried out public policy based in racism.
We endured four years of our highest political leader normalizing hateful, hurtful rhetoric being that cast people of color, immigrants, and Muslim Americans in dehumanizing terms.
We knew upon his election in 2016 that racial harm would ensue. We immediately saw, for example, the dismantling of the U.S. Department of Education civil rights efforts to rein in school district policies and practices that disproportionately removes Black, Latino, and Indigenous students from the classroom through racially unequal approaches to student discipline.
This is why now, more than ever, we must commit to ending harmful discipline practices in Minnesota schools and bring students of color and American Indian students into relationships with schools and teachers that promote their human dignity. The damage to Black, Latino, Asian, and Indigenous people must be repaired and healed.
Today, as we navigate through the transition to a new federal administration, we offer some key ways you can recommit to this work:
- Racial disparities continue to be part of Minnesota , especially in education. Keep up your efforts to eliminate them and replace them with racial equity. Work to place anti-racism at the core of your personal growth, your work, school, community, business and community.
Talk about the elections and why you made your choices, and do so in the context of naming the values that guided your decisions.
2. Engage with students on that level and do so in a non-judgmental way of the choices of others. “Demonizing” others is a common feature of political discourse but contributes to a breakdown in community problem solving. Speaking to your own moral and intellectual compass opens up the space to share perspectives not focused on your stereotypes of others and contributes to community-owned solutions.
3. Acknowledge that propaganda is part of any political competition and seek sources of information that go beyond efforts to persuade you to adopt a particular point of view. Know that we are constant targets to absorb making racism a social norm.
4. Envision what your life, school and community can look like with a full respect of those from racial, cultural backgrounds different from yours.
Think of how you can strengthen the health and happiness of that community and what public policies need to be developed and supported to align with that. Those are the policies you will want to engage, organize, and advocate for as part of your self-agency and contribution to your community.
MnEEP is hopeful that all of us can strongly act on racial inequalities in education. Even during these trying times, we made great strides in training educators,: creating leadership networks of administrators and educators; advancing the knowledge of Black, Latino, Asian and Indian communities; and shining a light on the racial harm being done systemically by our education environment.
All of these strides forward were possible because the awareness of our historical legacy of racial harm, and the will to do right and honor the dignity of all human beings exists strongly in our society. MnEEP believes in that desire— and in the ability of people to transform our social institutions to fulfill our call for racial justice and equity.
We are grateful for your support, and your recommitment to building race equity alongside of us.