Raising Change Makers

andrea Leadership, Mirowitz Community, School Philosophy

Racial injustice is a problem for every American.

My burden is your burden.

I’ve heard these from our Vice President this week speaking about race. I read them in Amy Hammerman’s Jewish Light article on Asian American hate. And they echo from my 52 years of Jewish engagement. Jewish tradition instills in us that we are responsible for active participation in fixing the broken pieces in our world.

Mirowitz students are growing up with a sense of purpose. They know that when a pattern of discrimination occurs against a minority, the victimized group could easily be Jews…as it has been off and on throughout history.

So our evolving curriculum acknowledges challenges of systemic racism, includes deep dives into historical movements for change, celebrates change agents and encourages students to have empathy and solidarity in confronting prejudice in any form.

In the past few weeks, fourth graders have lobbied for trans children in Jefferson City. Fifth graders took a deep dive into the concept of privilege: that where and when you were born, your skin color, gender and gender identity, religion, ethnicity and abilities impact your life experience. You should read their papers on trailblazers like Harvey Milk, RBG and Katherine Johnson!

Third graders met with their Muslim and Christian friends through Operation Cooperation. Second graders have studied the significant contributions of Native American, Black, Asian-American and Pacific Islander Americans.

Acclaimed author and poet Kwame Alexander called for students across the country to submit poems about civil rights. He strung together words from a selection of a thousand entries to create a collective poem for the Civil Rights Memorial.

A few Mirowitz classes participated, and we are so proud that the third line of this poem is taken from words submitted by Suzi, a Mirowitz second grader. (Hear Kwame Alexander talk about the poem here.)

It is our vision that Mirowitz students grow to be change-makers, who can see the cracks in our system and stand ready to fill them with gold. It is with great intention that we infuse their childhood with leadership opportunities, with honest exposure to difficult world issues, and with a safe place in which to explore varying opinions.

And…it’s never too late for us adults to learn to be change agents as well. JCRC and the YWCA are presenting a 21-Day Racial Equity and Social Justice Challenge. Learn more here. Register for weekly discussions with JCRC here.

 

Shabbat Shalom,

Cheryl