Yesterday morning, I started off my Friday as I always do by reading Doug Peterson‘s This Week In Ontario Edublogs post. The first blog post link that I clicked on to read was this powerful post by Rusul Alrubail. Her post really hit me hard for many reasons. As terribly as it makes me feel, I realize that I am one of the people that she discussed in her post.
I use Twitter primarily to share about and connect on education and classroom related happenings. I’m always reluctant to tweet about anything else. I know that I have Twitter followers from educators to administrators to parents, and I’m always very aware of this diverse audience. What will others think about my tweet? Is this topic too political? It was with these very thoughts in mind that I didn’t tweet about the Muslim travel ban.
I thought that I was doing the “right” thing by avoiding such a politically-charged topic. But after reading Rusul’s post, I realize now that being silent also sends a message … and not the kind of message I want to send. I cannot even imagine feeling as Rusul felt: that she could not attend a conference because crossing the border put her and her family at risk of being detained.
In our schools, we speak regularly about “acceptance.” We work hard to create classroom and school environments where everyone feels welcome. And then something terrible like this happens, and many people start to feel scared. They start to question if they really are welcome. When I read about the Quebec shooting, I started to think about my school from last year. We had a mosque down the street. So many students and families went there, sometimes even during the school day. How would this news impact them? Would they come to school the next day? Would they feel safe in the building?
It breaks my heart to think that anyone would not feel safe or welcome — at a conference, in a school, at a place of worship, or in a country — just because of their religious beliefs and/or cultural background. I have not experienced this feeling and I cannot even imagine how it must feel, but I can stand up and show support. I can speak up! Please consider this blog post my “white ribbon”: my way of saying, “All faiths welcome.” These are politically-charged conversations that we have to have for change to happen. Thank you, Rusul, for inspiring me to talk. What else can we do?