Dear CCPrep Family,
Just a few short hours ago, chaos erupted in our City streets. Our Nation’s Capitol Building and democracy itself was attacked by domestic terrorists and insurrectionists, not patriots or other soft labels that hide their true intention of inciting terror and tearing at the fabric of our nation’s identity. Businesses were shattered, lives were lost, and our residents were forced into their homes by curfew. We continue to watch on television as these events unfold and have few words to share with those who may ask simple questions like what is happening and why. Maybe we, too, are asking those same questions.
I recognize that as I write this message to you, I sit with a privilege that we witnessed unfold on television. There is no doubt in my mind that if the rioters were people of color or wearing garb that identified them as Muslim, the government’s response would have been different. I know that because protests earlier in the year were met with force while yesterday’s Capitol breach was met with selfies and opened doors. There is much to process and reconcile now and in the future as we try our best to rebound from this setback. As with any challenge put in our way that might try to knock us down, we must stand back up, dust ourselves off, and return to the journey of working to achieve the goals we have set for ourselves. Anything short of that is claiming defeat which further empowers those who are working to oppress, destroy, and terrorize.
The coming days and weeks remain uncertain. We are still seeing surging numbers of positive COVID-19 infections, a slower than expected rollout of vaccine distribution, and with democracy under attack one can only ask “what is next?”
I am writing to you today with two purposes: The first is to announce that Monday, January 11, 2021 will be a mental health day at CCPrep. All classes will be canceled on this day and all school campuses will be closed. Students and staff are encouraged to find ways to recharge, rest and reflect so we can return to school focused and continue on the journey of working to achieve our goals. The second purpose is to provide resources to help discuss these local and national issues with other people in your life. This is a complex challenge that needs to be discussed, even with our youngest community members. I hope the resources listed below are helpful and, if they are, please share them with others.
Yes, we will get through this. Yes, it will be painful. Yes, it will be a long process. And, yes, there will be more instances of barriers thrown our way. But we will NOT let that define who we are. We will NOT let that stop us from doing what we set out to do. It will NOT change who we are.
We are, and we remain, CCPrep Strong.
For students of all ages, elementary through high school:
- How are you feeling? Is it a familiar feeling or an unfamiliar one? Is it easy to name how you are feeling, or is it hard to do?
- Can you think of a time you did something wrong, something that hurt someone else - and you had the courage to admit you were wrong? How did that feel?
- Have you ever tried to mend fences with someone you disagree with?
- Can you think of a time when something bad happened that ended up bringing people together - in history, in a book or movie, in your own life?
- What does being brave mean to you?
For middle and high school students:
- What do you know about the events of yesterday? What do you want to understand better?
- How do you think the Members of Congress felt last night when they returned to the chamber after having had to evacuate?
- Imagine yourself 50-60 years from now, speaking with your grandchildren about the events of yesterday. What do you think you’ll tell them? What will you want them to learn from these events?
- Where do your rights interfere with the rights of others?
- When Congress reconvened last night after hours of lockdown, a number of Senators and Congresspeople stood up to speak. What do you think they might have been feeling as they spoke?
For high school students:
- To whom does the US Capitol belong?
- Some have said that yesterday was a turning point in our country. Do you believe we’re at a turning point? Why or why not? Can you think of other times in history that have been turning points in the history/trajectory of a society?
- Last night Senator Cory Booker pointed out that, before now, the only time the US Capitol had been breached was during the War of 1812 when the British army burned it to the ground. He went on to point out that while our then-adversaries from another country invaded the Capitol in 1812, on January 6, 2021, “we brought this hell upon ourselves.” What do you think he meant by this? Who is the “we” in his statement?
Here are some resources to support teachers and parents in talking with children about difficult subjects:
- How to talk to your kids about the chaos at the Capitol from National Geographic
- Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers from the National Association of School Psychologists
- An age-by-age guide on how to talk about difficult topics with your children from Motherly and Common Sense Media