June 01, 2020

A Call for Justice and Humanity and a List of DEI Resources

Dear Bertschi Community,

As I write to you this morning, the right words are not coming to me because of the many feelings that fill my heart and my mind. I know that you join me in deep sorrow, outrage, anger, and perhaps even despondency. We must, yet again, ask why black and brown folks are at risk in our nation. George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor are only the latest victims. America is broken.

Tara Brach says, “We need a deep pause to feel our heartbreak as violence against black people continues daily in the United States. My prayer is that the horror of George Floyd’s murder will crack us open so powerfully that we collectively respond against the racism in and around us."

We can all stand in solidarity with a collective response that is specific and action-oriented. Listed below are steps we can all take in keeping with our school's strategic equity and inclusion goals.

  • Demand that black and brown folks be valued and afforded dignity.
  • Affirm that our nation has benefited from the unacknowledged brilliance and labor of people of color.
  • Double our efforts to recognize and mitigate implicit and unconscious bias. If left unchecked and un-interrogated, these are the very sources of violence against people of color.
  • White folks must take a stand as allies and accomplices, calling out the unjust and systemic violence against people of color in this country.
  • Consider donating to Black Visions Collective or the Minnesota Freedom Fund

And, as always, we can support our kids at Bertschi and beyond–even remotely–to be part of a future that includes these actions as an unremarkable part of everyday life. We are now seeing protests and gatherings across the country, as well as right here in Seattle. This is a response to the pain, both present and historic, that has been inflicted on black people in this country, and many protesters are expressing this outrage in peaceful ways. Advancing equity in meaningful and enduring ways requires all of us to speak out against violence and injustice with one voice.

Our focus at Bertschi will always be our kids. How do we help them make sense of what they hear and see? Some of them are experiencing current events outside their window. Many of our students will participate in (virtual) classroom conversations about what is happening locally and nationally, in developmentally-appropriate ways for each grade level. School leaders will make room to support the adult community. Our school leadership and members of our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee stand ready to help the community navigate these most difficult days, ready to facilitate connections and conversations.

For now, here are a number of resources passed on by our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee leaders.

Social Justice Resources: How to Talk With Your Children About Race

Anti-Racism Resources for Parents

Book Recommendations for Families | Racism and Race

  • Breaking News by Sarah Lynne Reul, Sarah Lynne Reul
  • All the Colors We Are by Katie Kissinger & photographs by Chris Bohnhoff
  • What's the Difference?: Being Different Is Amazing By Doyin Richards
  • I Walk with Vanessa: A Story About a Simple Act of Kindness by Kerascoët
  • Be Kind by Pat Zitlow Miller
  • All of Us by Carin Berger
  • Intersectionalities: We Make Room for All by Chelsea Johnson, Latoya Council, Carolyn Choi
  • The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander
  • Sulwe by Lupita Nyong'o, Vashti Harrison
  • Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z by Irene Latham, Charles Waters, Mehrdokht Amini
  • Something Happened in Our Town: A Child's Story About Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano PhD, Marietta Collins PhD &Ann Hazzard PhD (upper grades)
  • Can I Touch Your Hair?: Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship by Irene Latham, Charles Waters, Sean Qualls (upper grades)
  • Woke: A Young Poet's Call to Justice by Mahogany L. Browne, Elizabeth Acevedo, Olivia Gatwood (upper grades)

In solidarity,

Rafael del Castillo | Head of School