Hedreich Nichols

Keep On Keeping On

Small Bites Friday Five 06-19-20:

20-30m – Google anti-racism or something simple like “how to be a more culturally responsive teacher”. Nothing beats finding your own rabbit hole to fall into.

15-20m – Google “HBCU”, pick one and then read about its rich history and even consider giving your support. Here’s one option.

10-15m – Read or watch a social justice story from your favorite news outlet then read or watch a story covering the same topic from your least trusted news source. Reflect on perspective vs. fact.

5-10m – Have a conversation with at least one child or teen about race in America. Don’t proselytize, just listen. Consider it a fact-finding mission.

0-5m – Read “Teaching as Activism, Teaching as Care” from tolerance.org.

Every January I start a new health and fitness routine. Like clockwork. And every March I start the slow slide into the next January when I have to start all over again. The excitement of a new chance to do something big is always a huge draw at the year’s beginning. So is the likelihood that it won’t stick. According to a University of Scranton study, only 19% of those resolutions are kept long term.

The current social awakening to systemic disenfranchisement of marginalized populations bears every hallmark of a January 1st new beginning. Outrage and the opportunity for sweeping change is fueling a movement around the world. But I wonder, what will change look like 2 months or even 2 years from now?

The truth is, as much as we want to say we’ll keep pushing for change, life happens. You will have to learn new tech to teach in a blended environment, figure out how to work out without your 5AM spin class, give your personal kids more learning support or find new childcare for a totally new routine.

It will get cold and you won’t want to stand outside at a rally. Christmas will come and you may face balancing taking the kids to see grandma with Covid 2nd wave health and safety concerns.

Life will happen and, unless racism is causing you personal pain or at least personal difficulty, you will re-prioritize. You won’t want to, you may not even mean to but you will—unless you have a plan.

Decide now what your priorities are. Are you a letter writer? Grant writer? Check writer? Are you a relationship builder, library collection builder, a content connection builder? Do you see yourself making a difference with one? With a few? With many? In your family? In your classroom? In politics and policy?

Where and how can you keep pushing change forward when life hits? Whatever you can see yourself doing, make a plan now to do it when it’s cold, uncomfortable, busy and 100th on a list of 150 things you need to have done yesterday. Put your supports in place and make a plan to do it even when your best laid plan has gone wrong or made you the object of constant “oh-here-she-comes” eye-rolls.

Make a plan because when the protests stop, the real work will just be starting. Small Bites can be your go to. But even if it’s not, find one thing you can do even in the busiest of times because we can’t afford to lose one voice. We can’t afford to lose your voice.

You can get tired, you can get it wrong but you can’t give up.