Letter to the editor: BLM flag provides opportunity to talk about racism
I am incredibly disappointed by the discussion around the BLM flag at Mt Abe, and feel compelled to speak up. This is about holding our institutions accountable. This is about taking responsibility for our words and actions. And while it may seem extreme to some to draw a line between little old Mt Abe and insurrection in our Capitol, it’s not. Every person who acted as terrorist in D.C. on Wednesday was once a child who was given messages about how to treat others. And when we tell our children and youth that if they are uncomfortable acknowledging that black lives matter they can stay home from school, that is a problem. It is telling our students of color that their lives don’t matter as much as the comfort of their peers.
I grew up in Vermont, and just accepted that the racism I encountered in my elementary and middle school were normal, because there were no adults in my school who were willing to acknowledge I was being treated differently. And that is what is happening, again, at Mt Abe, by creating some kind of compromise in a situation that should not have one.
We are amazingly fortunate to have youth in our community who love their town, and school, and peers enough to have difficult conversations around race, and to ask their school to support all students, even if their school has few students of color. We are fortunate to have teachers who, in what is probably one of the most challenging years of their career, go the extra mile to create curriculum and space to educate their students about racial inequality. But when we exempt students who feel uncomfortable with this conversation from participating, we do every person in our town a deep disservice.
Please sign the petition asking Mt Abe to continue to fly the BLM flag. Please do the work to educate yourself and your family in why this is important. Please be willing to be uncomfortable and talk about racism so that one day those of us who experience it don’t have to. Because we don’t have a choice about experiencing racism. We don’t get to be exempt.