Tonight I dream of living in a world where our political leaders do not ask people to remain calm, but instead declare loudly that, “I stand with you in outrage.”
Tonight a video was released of yet another black child being killed by a white police officer. If you have not heard the story of Laquan McDonald, consider it your responsibility to read more.
Tonight I believe that we can no longer ask for calm. The killing of children is not something about which we should remain calm. The killing of children deserves our outrage. It demands it.
As teachers, the killing of children, yes even ones who have made mistakes, should tear at the very hearts that drove us into our profession in the first place. These children, they were someone’s students. Someone’s sons. Someone’s daughters. Someone’s friends. Those who knew and loved the children who are being killed deserve to feel outrage. They deserve to express that outrage. They deserve to have US stand with them in that outrage.
Because this much I know. Laquan McDonald was killed only miles from my home and miles from where I teach every day. But had this child been one of the students at my school and had he been gunned down in this way, no one would be asking for calm. Had Laquan McDonald’s skin looked a little bit more like the skin of most of my white students, no one would stop to ask if he deserved it. No one would expect anything less than outrage.
And that, in and of itself, is worthy of the purest form of outrage that we can possibly express.
So staying silent is no longer an option. Staying silent makes you part of the problem.
Tonight I read that the best thing we can do in order to be an ally is to amplify the voices of those who are expressing their outrage. And so tonight, that is my hope. That each of us can find a way to amplify the voices of others so that there no longer continues to be the silence that too many of us have become comfortable with.
Because if we claim to love and care about children, then we must love and care about all children, not just the ones that find their ways into our classrooms. And for tonight, for me, that means finding ways to make it difficult for others to stay silent and disengaged and without outrage over another killing of another black child by another white police officer.