• Allan J. Mucerino

MESSAGING IN THE MIDST OF DEMONSTRATIONS AND PROTEST REQUIRE SENSITIVITY

Be mindful of your blind spots when writing about sensitive issues.

Below is a letter sent to the entire school community and released as a Press Release on behalf of the Board of Education and school district.


June 2, 2020


Dear Alvord Families,


The coronavirus has changed almost everything about American life. For many of our students and their families, it’s been a hardship of near insurmountable proportions. COVID-19 has taken lives. It has compromised health. It has shattered our economy. And, it has disproportionately affected racial and ethnic minorities.


Now, in the wake of the first wave of COVID-19, as the nation eases onto the road to recovery, our national psyche is struck again. This time by a series of senseless murders that have ignited anger and protests around the country. The images of masked protesters facing off against masked armed sentry, contrasts how we are all together, yet, so far apart. Fighting two wars at the same time. Both damaging the soul of our nation.


While COVID-19 has shed a stark light on the disparities among our fellow citizens, specifically the impact of income inequality and equity, the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor have shed an even starker light on our nation, dividing it at a time when we need it to come together. What do we tell our children? How do we as adults provide a useful frame for our children to understand the painful and difficult realities of the pandemic, of senseless violence, of racism? If we are silent we speak even louder, dishonoring the lives that have been lost.


AUSD is committed to our core values of equity, diversity and inclusion. We will continue to celebrate the exceptional racial diversity of our school district. Furthermore, we believe every child, and indeed every person, deserves to live without fear or boundaries because of their race, ethnicity, or economic status. We will continue to hold everyone associated with Alvord Unified School District to the absolute highest standard related to social justice, democracy, and inclusion. We are our children’s role models.


While this school year ended this past Friday, we will continue to be here for you. We will continue to share the voices of our students, staff, and community through podcasts and other social media platforms. And we will continue to connect our students and their families to resources and supports. Below are links to support services for families, including tips for talking to children of all ages about the current protests and violence:


Riverside County 211 - Community Connect Care Solace

Mental Health Care Coordination Disaster Distress Helpline Talking with Children About Coronavirus Talking with Children About Racism, Police Brutality, and Protests Advice on talking to Children About Race, Racism, and Police Violence Teaching Upper Elementary and Middle School Students How to Deal with Stress Riverside 311 to Access City Services


In partnership.


Sincerely,


The Board of Education and Superintendent of Schools