Often in my work as a professional developer of educators and leaders, I remind participants that becoming culturally responsive is a journey, and that one cannot expect to become culturally proficient simply because they attended a diversity training or two. In fact, I share that the journey never really ends, not even for someone like myself who works in this space and considers herself a fierce advocate. You see, I realized recently, that even the beliefs we hold near to our hearts can sometimes be challenged, forcing us to dig a little deeper.
As a Haitian-American, I was affected by recent statements made by the President of the United States. Of course, it makes sense that I would be hurt or angered. Despite being born and raised in the U.S., I took personally these statements that disparaged a place that is so much a part of my heritage. I also felt helpless. I wondered how I could channel the painful feelings in a way that would make a difference, educate others and help them better understand the danger in the rhetoric being spread nationally.
I feared that while some might express outrage in the moment, these statements, like so many others, would go without consequence in the short time that it would take for the next big headline. In times like these, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the cleavage across race, class and gender in this polarized world we find ourselves in now and think that there is no way to impact the many injustices, inequity and divisiveness we see daily. It’s easy to get so overwhelmed that we begin to think that it just might be easier to throw our hands up and retreat to our safe spaces.