Recently I had an amazing opportunity to hear Dr. Terrence Roberts speak. Dr. Roberts was one of the original Little Rock Nine- the 9 Black students who entered Central HS in Little Rock with National Guard escorts for protection during the mandatory desegregation.
His life experiences and the way in which he shared them were rich and vivid and inspirational. His message is so important, as much today in 2014 as it was 60 years ago after the Brown v. Board of Education verdict.
Some of the sound bites that struck me (or my colleagues who were tweeting live during his presentation!) included:
Every human being is charged with the responsibility to repair the world.
Kids need to feel loved and respected by their teachers.
Be the CEO of your own learning.You find a way to do that which you want to do, that for which you have a passion.
Levels of commitment:
- High level self-awareness
- I’ll try
- I’ll do what I can
- I’ll do what’s expected
- I’ll do whatever it takes!
Level 5 commitment
Are you strong enough to confront the issues?
“What issues?,” you may ask. Dr. Roberts asked us to picture “the south” and to visualize the geographic areas of America where we imagine there are still issues of racial bias, inequality, and a lack of social justice. Then he asked us to re-imagine that map because, “The south is everywhere south of Canada- there are issues everywhere in America.” Are you strong enough to confront the issues that stand before you?
This was such a powerful statement that really resonated with me. The more we consider the achievement gap across school systems, the more we see the inequality that still exists. Social justice is about providing EVERY CHILD with the opportunity for an equitable education. In order to do so, we need leaders who are strong enough to confront the issues. Are you? If not, what can you do to get stronger? Our students need your strength!