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  • Fernell Miller

No one’s identity should be the CAUSE of their Death

Updated: May 17, 2020

If you knew that this would be your last Mother’s Day, what would you do to prevent that from happening? Who would you ask for help to ensure that you would see your child for one more Mother’s Day?


What actions would you take throughout the year, to guarantee another Mother’s Day with your child? Do you think Ahmaud Arbery's mother was doing anything to ensure that May 11th would not be her last Mother’s Day?


Have you ever had to think about or ask yourself questions like that?

Can you answer any of the questions? Have any of your friends, relatives or anyone in your network ever had to address these types of thoughts or questions?


(Answers and information are listed at the end of our blog along with a survey to share)


Although I do not know and have never met Mrs. Aubery, I do know the answer to all of the questions. In fact, I know exactly what Mrs. Aubery has been doing to prevent the above scenario from happening ever since Ahmaud was born.

I, along with every mother and father of Black and Brown babies in the United States have had the “how to stay alive” talk [i] with their children. We continue to have these conversations, knowing that these warnings keep kids of color from enjoying their childhoods [ii] like other children.

Are you having the talk with your children on how to stay safe or how to stay ALIVE.

How is it right to deny someone’s existence by only allowing them merely to survive?

We teach our children about the rich and regal origins of our history [iii], strength and resilience of our spirit [iv] through chattel slavery and the Jim Crow [v] era. We shine the light on the preponderance of evidence of our vast and meaningful contributions [vi] to society, their country and our world. Yet with all the extensive preventative measures we take, it is still necessary to educate and advocate that Black Lives Matter [vii] in 2020 in order to get one more Mother's Day.

Liberty and justice for who? Who has the right to be “safe” in these States?

America only opens her gates, for those who can or are willing

to deny their roots of identity and assimilate.[viii]

When will White America begin to address the plague of cognitive dissonance [ix] that continues the patterns of violence and brutality toward Black America, only to be interrupted by another news story or leaked video of our children being robbed of their dignity or very lives as they run, walk, talk on the phone, drive, play outside and love themselves.

Black and Brown children will die if they don’t wear a mask in public.

Black and Brown children will die if they do wear a mask in public.

Can you read between the lines? Can you see the true threat?

Will the Pandemic move humanity to WAKE UP and reset?

When will Black children be able to take a deep breath?

No one’s identity should be the CAUSE of their Death.

So no, I don't need a response because there is a video. There is a video because of the silent response. I need you to stop ignoring and apologizing for being (intentional and unintentional) unwilling to acknowledge and take action, and please start taking responsibility for what you have been unwilling to acknowledge with real action. (Jane Elliot-White Educator on Racism)[x]

There is no doubt that a pandemic has day-lighted the trauma of inequality and if we don’t respond by engaging in work that will center our most marginalized children and families right now instead of waiting for life to get back to “normal “ it will be too late. Who would want scraps of equity after budgets and bar codes are fixed? It would mean, once again centering Whiteness as the norm.[xi] True equity would mean centering people and their needs before we negotiate numbers. That way we don’t leave anyone at the bottom of the “barrel”. Centering our most invisible and vulnerable people in the margins would mean everyone getting their needs met on the way up!

Here is what would be amazing instead, I would love for us to kneel . . beside one another to build new systems and a new America by digging up her roots, shake-off the shame, examine the untold truths and plant new seeds of identity, belonging and equity in our rich soil of diversity! When we learn and teach about all our stories, it allows our children and our world to heal.

Teaching as an act of resistance and teaching as an act of healing are not mutually exclusive.

Don't Say Nothing” [xii] Silence speaks volumes. Our students are listening.

That is the work we are doing at The Root Of Us. Building strong communities, one root at a time. We all want to celebrate mother’s day and everyday - together. Are you ready to get to work?

If so, let’s start with our educational system. What is your vision for an equitable educational system for all to look like in the future? Please join us in building the vision of an equitable educational system for the future.

We start by sharing the surveys with voices we don’t usually hear from. Our inaugural survey's intent is to center the needs of our most invisible and marginalized students, families, support staff, educators and community members first. Intersectionality [xiii] goes deep, so be intentional in sharing with your networks by gathering and centering the voices of Black, Brown and Native students; Special Ed., homeless, rural and our most remote students and families, so we can raise up their voices and experiences [xiv] in order to lead and drive the vision.


Thank you for making the commitment to seeking out those voices and sharing the survey.

SHARE SURVEYS HERE

https://www.therootofus.com/inaugural-survey

Thank you for being a part of change ~

~ Thank you for being a part of The Root of Us.

Please reach out to us if you need or can offer translation services.

For more information, follow the links below.

[i] https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2017/02/139943/black-parents-talking-about-police-video [ii] https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/how-racism-harms-children-2019091417788 [iii] https://www.king5.com/article/news/local/education-unchained-teaching-black-history-outside-the-classroom/281-550235296 [iv] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhnN65x53L0 [v] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWU6ZfnqNHM [vi] https://www.theunspokentruths.com/about-us [vii] https://blacklivesmatteratschool.com/ [viii] https://www.history.com/news/how-boarding-schools-tried-to-kill-the-indian-through-assimilation [ix] http://www.milwaukeeindependent.com/featured/afraid-talk-racism-cognitive-dissonance-nationwide/ [x] https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/educator-jane-elliott-talks-trump-kapernick-fixing-racism-n747291 [xi] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLgbw_A1mLI [xii] https://www.tolerance.org/magazine/fall-2016/dont-say-nothing [xiii] http://intersectionality [xiv] https://www.tolerance.org/magazine/fall-2019/black-minds-matter






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