Our Children. They Are Already Involved.
There are arguments, for and against, the involvement of children in the current social justice movement. What we cannot argue is that our children have been involved—whether they wanted to be or not—since the beginning of 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic arrived on our doorsteps. September marks the ninth month of this landmark year--a full mental and emotional gestation period of growth--that has affected and changed us all. Within the uncertainty of the pandemic, our children first became involved in March when schools closed abruptly and sent them home. Most of them are still there--home--with their parents, many of whom have lost their jobs or businesses. Our children have lived this. They are already involved.
Spring and summer found us grieving the staggering loss of life due to Covid-19. Our children have lost friends and loved ones. We gasped in disbelief after the multiple killings of Black citizens went viral--our children saw that; they’ve watched or participated in peaceful demonstrations now being met with violent pushbacks. In late summer, the western wildfires and the eastern hurricanes wiped out entire communities. Many children and their families are now homeless. And social justice warriors, like Rep. John Lewis, Justice Ruth B. Ginsberg, and let’s include Chadwick Boseman for his body of work, all passed away. We have been in a perpetual state of mourning, and it feels like we have been up all year. Our children have been in the mix of all of this. They are already involved.
The labor pains from this societal change are strong, urgent and crowning. Our children are witnessing the birth of a new era—one that they will eventually inherit. What is happening around them should be explained to them, in an age appropriate way, and within the historical context of the true birth of this country that is now more fully exposed. Our children have a “summary” sense of history that comes from schoolbooks—but they are now living this history, up close and personal.
Our children were thrust into the social justice arena and responded with resilience, compassion, innovation and curiosity as this “new normal” unfolds for them and their friends. They are watching us and need to see us involved with the tools of change at our disposal right now--the census, the vote, and community action—all of which can benefit their schools, community, and their future. Lack of our involvement can devastate all three.
We are all involved. As 2020 plays out, we can tend to and widen the pathways of progress toward equality and justice, and with our children, honor the many foot soldiers who sacrificed their lives while blazing those trails for us.