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Resources to support students, each other

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The verdict has been rendered: police officer Derek Chauvin has been found guilty on all counts in the murder of George Floyd.

The trial highlighted longstanding and pervasive racial inequities that kill Black, Indigenous and People of Color, (BIPOC) be they students, neighbors or colleagues, and which harm our entire community. At WEA's recent Representative Assembly, Dr. Bettina Love noted that death by police is the sixth highest cause of death for Black men in America.

That statistic is unacceptable. At WEA, we believe that Black Lives Matter and that we must act to protect and defend each other's humanity and basic right to simply exist without the fear of violence. That is the starting point, not the end, and we must work to making our union and public schools places of equity and opportunity for all.

As educators, we have an obligation to serve every student who comes to our classroom and school, which serves as a foundation for WEA's stance against racism. Every student, regardless of race, ethnicity, language, religion, gender, ability, orientation or identity, deserves a high-quality public education, including the right to be treated with dignity and respect.

When students experience racism and trauma through events like the George Floyd murder, it can't be seen as something external or separate: many Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) experience the threat of violence against people of color as a personal threat on a daily basis. That's why we have a responsibility to support our students regardless of the verdict.

This may be difficult, given the toll trial has taken on many of our Black colleagues and friends. We have assembled resources to assist in navigating the outcome of the trial with your students, colleagues, friends and family members.

The Association of Black Psychologists, Emotional Emancipation Circles and the Community Healing Network have teamed to prepared these guides to support Black people and families through trauma.

Family-Care, Community-Care, and Self-Care: Healing in the Face of Cultural Trauma.

Racial Stress and Self-Care: Parent Tip Tool

The National Museum of African-American History and Culture has produced this website called Talking About Race for educators, parents and people committed to equity.

AMAZEworks – A non-profit based in Minnesota, AMAZEworks focuses on creating conditions for belonging and equity so people of all ages can fully engage fully in their relationships with each other and the work that they do in classrooms and workplaces. They developed resources to support students during the trial.

Our sister affiliate, Education Minnesota, has compiled these resources that include materials about the trial, as well as other social justice issues, including the killing of Duante Wright and countering the rise in Anti-Asian hate crimes.

Minneapolis Public Schools has also published this document, Supporting Your Student During Times of Stress and Change, as well as links to other resources.

*A message from WEA President Larry Delaney - Listening is a good first step. 

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