Love is an action.

Maurice McDavid

by | 06.18.20

Maurice McDavid is an educator in Illinois. Follow him on Twitter @princmcdizzle.

Looking around at my fellow educators, I’m heartened by the movement that is happening right now. I’m impressed by the willingness of educators to be bold and courageous and direct. To speak the truth about racism, even if they get pushback. It’s incredibly encouraging. Remember, though, that this has to be sustained. We can’t allow this moment to just fade away. 

Being an anti-racist educator means taking action, and that action begins with self-work. We have to start by recognizing and addressing bias in ourselves. Beginning this work can be as simple as having the humility to say, “I’m willing to learn something from my students.” Having the humility to acknowledge, “If my students tell me about an experience that is outside my own experience, I’m not going to write it off. I’m not going to say, ‘No, that didn’t happen,’ or ‘Maybe you’re seeing it wrong.’ I’m going to take my student’s word at face value, and really listen.”

It’s critical that we prepare to make social justice a part of our practice when we’re next with our students – whether we’re meeting in Zoom classrooms or face-to-face. We have to be prepared to talk, even if sometimes all we can say is that we don’t have all the answers. And self-work – reflection and learning and listening – has to be underway before we start any of this work with students. The fact that we’re now heading into summer gives us a chance to dedicate some time to self-work.

I’m challenging myself to step up to another level of anti-racist work. I’m challenging myself to another level of boldness – to call out the systemic things that we have just let be in the past, as part of the status quo. We are at a place right now where we can no longer just sit and say, “I love my students.” Loving our students is powerful. It’s important. But love is an action. It’s a verb. We love our students, and it’s time for us to act. 

Here are some resources your fellow educators are sharing as they engage in self-work:

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