California Educator

October/November 2020

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Page 45 of 59

F O L L O W I N G T H E D E A T H S of George Floyd , Ahmaud Arber y, Breonna Taylor and so many others, racial and social justice protests are rocking the nation — the longest stretch of such protests since the 1960s. The cry for change is of a magnitude that has never happened before — ampli- fied by social media and intense media coverage, deeply felt as people are already reeling from the global pandemic and climate change crises. Calls by leaders and average citizens alike demanding an end to white supremacy and the creation of a just and equitable society continue to ring throughout the country. CTA is among those demanding change and believes that any real change starts with education, through the power of our educators and schools. Students must learn and understand truth from our history and current events; their education must be inclusive as well as accurate. But what does this mean? For educators, it means that we need to embrace multiple, factual perspectives in our curriculum and actively work to integrate anti-racism into our teaching. It is a disservice to students when we take no action; we are not fully educat- ing them, and are instead perpetuating the status quo. Even those of us who consider ourselves "not racist" are part of the problem. "One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an antiracist," writes Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to Be an Antiracist. " There is no in-between safe space of 'not racist.' e claim of 'not racist' neutrality is a mask for racism." Being an anti-racist educator doesn't happen overnight, of course. It is a process of continuous learning, reflection and acting. CTA is developing ways to help members hone skills and access tools to become inclusive educators — as well as active, thoughtful citizens. As part of the CTA Racial Equity Project, CTA has spent two years training leaders and staff on racial equity. CTA teacher leaders have been conducting bold and innovative workshops on the topic; recordings are available for viewing by all mem- bers. (See sidebar, page 47.) "For me, saying you are an anti-racist is a verb," says Taunya Jaco, a teacher leader and member of the San Jose Teachers Association. "It's how you live your life and your commitment to think critically about the system and fight the status quo. It's being able to take action and push back on racism." " The opposite of racist isn't 'not racist.' It is 'antiracist.'" —Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to Be an Antiracist By Sherry Posnick-Goodwin Learning, Reflecting and Taking Action to Integrate Anti-racism Into Our Teaching 44 Teaching & Learning

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