WRITTEN BY Brandi Barnett

Anyone else feeling the effects of another round of life's JUMANJI game. Last month we made it through by the skim of our teeth. It appears that JU-LY is now JU-TRUTH. "Truth shall set you free."

Illustration created digitally by: Miru (

After feeling liberated due to celebrated JUNETEENTH, it appears that 4th of July is upon us this week. It appears that with the 4th of July, which was adopted into the Declaration of Independence by Jefferson, there may be mixed emotions as history is being uncovered, thus throwing out the ideals taught in history books from McGraw-Hill.

Congress decided to declare July 4th as American Independence Day, as of July 2, 1776. The date of the 4th would be solidified after amendation to the Declaration of Independence at least a few days after the initial document was proposed. Most of the delegates did not sign the documentation until a month later. However, it ws read aloud to militia soldiers in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey, on the date of July 4, 1777. The Fourth of July has been celebrated a a federal holiday since the 1940s. Although the United States has traditionally celebrated this as the historic signing of the drafter Declaration of Independence, it appears that history will be set right side up with being held accountable for actual and factual dates.

Hard to celebrate the independence of something that was not our rightful possession, right?

As the summer break pivots on his heels with the school year just around that corner, we must prepare for social emotional supports for the children & staff. As an educator, as a leader, and as a compassionate follower, we must know when it is time to lead and follow. Schools not making statements in the brink of the new school year may have missed their chance to take a stance. Not acknowledging the pandemic and loss of George Floyd is actually making a louder statement. Here are a few tips that can be thought provoking to provide fruitful staff development conversations:

  1. Acknowledge all your citizens, not only the ones in the protests, not only the police officers, not only the brown & black students, but learn to divert from saying "We don't see color here!"

  2. Be patient. Be kind. Silence is a response. There may be times that you would like to randomly walk up to a person of color and ask those taught questions. Or there may be times that you would prefer to share how you feel...know that silence sometimes is best. Do not mistake silence with not taking the initiative of taking a stance.

  3. Use words that do don't duck and dive or dance around the terms of "racial violence." Do not over summarize and link racial violence with being apart of the pandemic. Do not overstate and understate the impact. You do not have to use the "racist," "white power," "black power," "white supremacy," or "pro-black."

  4. As you venture out with expanding your literary works, do not propose too many ideas. WORK. Do the work. Make a list of the things you wish to accomplish and quarterly check-in with your accomplishments for inclusion and away from exclusion. Follow enough to get the correct resources but lead by example.

  5. Encourage peace interracial and multicultural groups. This starts with diverse hiring of staff members. Do not place too much emphasis on one particular race to be apart of meetings and conferences. If you find yourself a victim to your own racism, do not resort to depending on your own devices but formulate a book club or accountability group. Open-ended conversations versus the use of one-sided conversations filled with assumptions and overgeneralization.

  6. Lastly, articulate your action plan. Put a date on your ideas, which from the idea should be joined with an action verb. Do not delegate but simply ensure that your doing the work as well to provided accessibility to the changes. If you referring your students to various therapeutic locations, soup kitchens, or dental offices--- volunteer your time to these locations. Often times, it is easer to refer the clientele to these resources without actually meeting the leadership and seeing the facilities. Be the change! Show change... change-up!

It appears that companies are making "urban" more common within the hiring departments, although for many of us we have made these recommendations long before the death of Breonna, George, and Elijah. One of the companies who have embraced change, CRAYOLA with the skin-tone crayons, markers, and coloring pencils. This is such a remarkable way to introduce the acceptance of all. Again inclusion. Did you know that by the age of five, racial prejudices can be expressed!? During the school year, I remember having a few of my kindergarten students upset with one another because they could not find the correct color palette to match their skin tones for their self-reflection drawings during their guidance lessons. Again, not addressing race, color, gender, and ethnicity leads to those conversations taking place with the world. If you do not have these conversations with your children, the world will teach them in other ways. As early as the age of five, children can take on the attitude of the adults around them dealing with culture tradition, race, ethnicity and equality. What are you reflecting? #justiceforelijah #justiceforbreonna #justiceforgeorge

Recommended Book for Child

"Rocket Says Look Up" by Nathan Byron

"Those Shoes"- by Maribeth Boelts

Recommended Book for Young Adults

"On the Come Up"- Angie Thomas

"Dear Martin"- by Nic Stone

Recommended Book for Educators

"White Fragility: Why It's So Hard For White People to Talk About Racism" by Robin Diangelo

"Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria"- by Beverly Daniel Tatum

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