A Single Bracelet does not Jingle
Maria-Veronica Barnes, Lower Elementary Room 3 teacher
This coming Saturday something special is happening at LMS. Brian Walker, author of Black Boy, White School
, is coming to visit. He will stay for a while and talk to us about his book and the challenges of Ant, a teenage boy who is paying a very steep price for his high school education. Ant’s story is fictional and yet too real. Like him, there are many children for whom the loss of part of their identity, and the confusion of belonging (or not) to two mutually exclusive worlds come disguised as the opportunity for a better education.
When I first read Brian Walker’s book I questioned why children had to choose between coming to a great school and preserving the beauty of who they really are, the whole of it. I wondered what would make it possible for them to have both. I suspect that the answer, or at least part of it, is painful in its simplicity. Education. Not their own education, but the education of the community they are joining.
When we educate ourselves about diversity, we are willing to accept, respect, and eventually celebrate the differences between us. We are willing to listen, watch and change to make room for those members of our community that are not quite like us. We understand that our uniqueness is part of a bigger entity and that each part of that entity concerns us. The welfare of each part is the wellness of the whole and the wellness of the whole is the wellness of each part. We are all connected, regardless if we know each other or not.
But, we cannot start the process of accepting what is different if we don’t first know who we are. So I invite you to find out on Saturday. I invite you to explore your identity in the safety of your children’s school. They do it everyday and so can you.
I told a dear friend of mine that I was trying to write a note to parents exploring the reasons why they should come to an LMS event about diversity. She looked at me funny and laughed, “Why not?” I hope you feel the same way.
A single bracelet does not jingle. Congolese proverb