Teaching Tolerance: A Facebook Message from the Head of School, The Northwest School (Seattle, WA, USA)

northwest

I noticed this post on my Facebook feed and felt compelled to share it with a wider audience.  The Northwest School has 509 students, 70 of whom are international, including some from Viet Nam.  

Shalom (שלום), MAA

Dear Parents and Families:

Sadly, I write yet again to acknowledge and denounce acts of hate and violence that have racked the country this past week, including the racist murders of two African Americans in Kentucky, a rash of pipe bomb mailings to more than a dozen Democratic political figures, and the mass murder of Jews as they marked the Sabbath on Saturday in the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.  

I am, of course, heartbroken for those directly affected, for family members who’ve lost loved ones and for communities whose very sense of place and belonging have been threatened or destroyed. But like others, I’m also angry and trying to figure out a productive outlet for that anger. And if adults are struggling to make sense of these horrific acts, we can be certain that our children are, too.  

We can find both solace and agency in community. In that spirit, Temple de Hirsch Sinai in Capitol Hill (1441 16th Avenue) is holding a community-wide vigil for people of all faiths tonight at 7:00. We hope many of you will consider attending with your student(s). Standing together in solidarity is one simple step we can take to counter those who would divide us. Here at Northwest, our Jewish Student Union met during lunch today to support one another and contemplate productive responses to anti-Semitic violence.  

We can also contribute to change by simply talking to one another: while such unspeakable violence is painful to process and virtually impossible to rationally explain, it is crucial lest silence lead to normalizing. For this is in no way normal. As one way into the conversation, faculty shared with one another the following resource from the magazine Teaching Tolerance:  

https://www.tolerance.org/magazine/pittsburgh-shooting-reminds-us-why-we-must-talk-about-hate

We hope you might find it useful, as well.

Sincerely,

Mike McGill
Head of School, The Northwest School

Advertisements

“Three-year-old girl dies after being stabbed at Idaho birthday party”

Girl’s death comes two days after man invaded her party and attacked nine people with knife

4DE73C2200000578-5917267-image-m-37_1530702467681
Source:  Associated Press

How sad is that?  I’m not sure how much coverage this story received in the US but it was all over the international media.  I fully expected the assailant to be another angry, xenophobic, hate-filled white guy but this time it was an African-American man, presumably batshit crazy.  Even though the victims are refugees from Syria, Iraq, and Ethiopia, the local police chief says the evidence does not suggest the knife attack was a hate crime.  

This reminds me a little of Linh Dinh’s spot-on 2010 article House Slave Syndrome, which he begins with this thought:  A recent article declares, “Tired of war, thousands of Iraqis want to go to U.S.”  What it fails to mention is who triggered all the bloodshed. Who made conditions in Iraq so intolerable that these people must flee?

In addition to Iraq, that is also the case with Syria.  They make their way to the US only to be murdered in cold-blood.  They had to flee their home countries to the source of their suffering, a place where they thought they could find peace and rebuild their lives only to experience more bloodshed, this time their own, at the hands of a deranged killer.  

Peace, MAA