In March of 2020, as Zoom meetings became the norm, I racked my brain thinking about how we should instruct teachers to talk to students about the racial disparities being observed in the groups most impacted by Covid-19, without causing more fear. Instead of addressing these real-life and in-real-time lived experiences for many of our families of color, independent schools across the USA felt pressured to deliver the exact school "product", using new platforms and innovative technology, despite the fact that we were in a pandemic. Schools scrambled to put their entire curriculum online in a matter of weeks. And that was the priority. "What about trauma-informed and culturally responsive teaching practices?" Not now. "Who is teaching students about how to manage stress?" We can't do everything. "What about the fact that many students are completely insulated and protected from the possibility of exposure by traveling to second homes outside cities, all while others are isolated in tiny apartments with working parents?" Yes, class differences are sad.
Meanwhile, during this pandemic, another crisis 300+ years in the making, came to the forefront with the killings of unarmed Black Americans: George Floyd, Ahmad Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. Black Lives Matter protests sprung up in every major city all over the world and for the first time we were able to say Black Lives Matter without fear of consequences from Boards of Trustees and school leaders everywhere. It was a clear shift in people's consciousness, and the reason for this is that -we knew deep down -and we know now. We know we live in a racist society that inflicts harm on Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) children in schools every day. However, we are in the midst of a worldwide awakening. Now we, any of us who have been doing anti-bias and antiracism work a while, are in high demand. And it is about time. Let's get to work.