Viewing posts from: June 2020

NCPTA President’s Statement on George Floyd

“Our Children Are Listening”

Raleigh, NC (June 4, 2020): In NCPTA, we advocate for all parents and children. For over 100 years we have stood up and proclaimed that all children have a right to reach his/her dreams. The twelve great religions of our world teach us that we are our brother’s keeper.  Many of us are not aware that we share the same Golden Rule.  Christians say, “Do to others as you would want them to do to you.” “Treat not others in the ways that you yourself would find hurtful” is a quote from the Buddha. In the Islamic faith, the prophet Muhammad stated, “Not one of you truly believes until you wish for others what you wish for yourself.” The Jewish Talmud reads, “What is hateful to you do not do to your neighbor.” In order for ALL children to reach their dreams, we must prepare the way.

In 1987 the musical, Into the Woods, took our country by storm. To the onlookers, it was a story intertwining the plots of our children’s fairytales. We had the opportunity to explore the characters’ wishes and consequences but really, it is about how we as adults influence our children by the actions we choose.

Over the last 10 days, we have watched as the people of the world express their anger over the killing by suffocation of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer. And for a moment we are traumatized. Yet as a nations, we saw Emmitt Till’s picture, Rodney King’s beating, we know that hundreds of Hispanic children are separated from their families, and we have sat at kitchen tables listening to racist remarks of our neighbors. Every one of us have seen the pictures of lynchings and whippings.

As North Carolinians, we must remember our own history. August 29, 2014, Lennon Lacy, a high schooler was found dead, family and friends believe lynched because he was dating someone white. In 2019 in Davidson County, a spirit rock of a white school uttered the words to “Kill N……” In North Carolina, there were over 123 lynchings of African Americans in less than 75 years between 1882 and 1950.  Between 2013 and 2017, hate crimes in NC have increased by 64%. The most targeted racial groups are Black people by 50% and religions related crimes, Jewish people targeted at 58%. The national increase was only 22%. In 2018, the Federal Bureau of Investigation reported over 8828 victims of hate crimes in the United States.  According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, NC has over 19 hate groups organizing within the state.

Keeping with the theme of the musical, we have a spell that has been cast over our nation for hundreds of years and for hundreds of years we have chosen for it to remain. Generation after generation, children have watched and listened to our words and have repeated generational actions.

In the song, “Children will Listen,” the witch reminds the adults that:

“Once upon a time
(In a far-off kingdom there lay a small village at the edge of the woods)
Careful the things you say
Children will listen
Careful the things you do
Children will see
And learn…”

Everyday our children are impacted by you. Either you are teaching our children to love their neighbor through your actions. Or your children are being taught through your inaction, subtle statements, and family history. We are in this place today, because generations of children have listened and continued the racist, implicit bias of their elders.

As an organization, we believe that every child has a healthy home, community, and school. However, the economic, health, and wellbeing of a child of color is hindered greatly by the impact of racism. As an organization we understand the importance of family engagement in our child’s education but we also understand historical trauma.

We have to go into the woods to find the ingredients to break this spell. As with the fairytale, the woods are dark and unknown but we must adventure into them to break the spell placed on this land so many years ago.

“Careful the spell you cast
Not just on children
Sometimes the spell may last
Past what you can see
And turn against you”

Langston Hughes, great American writer wrote about a life denied, in Harlem.In the poem he writes about what if a man is denied the ability to dream.

Does it dry up

Like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore-

And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?

Or crust and sugar over-

Like a syrupy sweet?

 

Maybe it just sags

Like a heavy load

 

Or does it explode?

Like many men before, George Floyd was denied his dream. For generations “the spell” has denied people of color from living their dreams. But we do not live in a fairytale. We live in a world where what we have taught our children has caused death, suffocation, and the millions of dream differed for hundreds of years, and it has exploded.

To break the spell is easy. The twelve great religions had the answer and its simple. We love our brother. We love our neighbor. And it is to be kind and fair with the same opportunities.

We must go into the woods of our hearts in order to make meaningful change. Our children are listening.

Sincerly,

Harold Dixon, President

North Carolina Parent Teacher Association

 

Brown, Joe. (January 23, 2019). “New Documentary examines mysterious death of Bladen County teen.” ABC11.

Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigations. (2018).  2018 Hate Crime Statistics.

Killian, Joe. (July 10, 2019). “Study: Reporting hate crimes up 64 percent in NC.” Progressive Pulse.

Quillin, Martha. (Jan. 29 2019).  “How many African Americans were lynched in North Carolina? CuriousNC reveals our brutal past.” The News & Observer.

Sanderlin, Lee. (Jan. 17, 2020).  “The N-Word. A Standoff between school systems. Here’s How the story continues to unfold in Davidson County.”  Winston-Salem Journal.

Serafico, Leo. (Aug. 29 2019). “The Golden Rule of Different Religions And Philosophies.”Medium.

Sondheim, Stephen. “Children will listen.” Into the Woods. Southern Poverty Law Center. (2019).