The President and Executive Director of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) issued a statement, We Stand Together A Message from Ann and Rhian,(see below) expressing their deep concern about current national and community events that “build upon more than 400 years of injustice for black people in America”. We thank Ann and Rhian for putting in words our feelings and we will take to heart the NAEYC’s core values as expressed in their position statement: Advancing Equity in Early Childhood Education.
Since its founding in 2011, PFCCAG has been committed to anti-bias principles in its leadership, membership, and programs and hope our commitment is demonstrated in all that we do or say. But the NAEYC statement reminds us: “That means committing—individually and collectively, again and again—to reflect and grapple with the racism in ourselves, our organizations, and our society.”
Toward that end, we ask you, our members, to tell us how are we doing? Are we sensitive to the needs and concerns of minority members? Do our word and actions demonstrate an anti-bias commitment?
At the same time, we pledge to review the NAEYC position statement Advancing Equity in Early Childhood Education with a view to adopting it as PFCCAG policy.
Sandra Ramsey, President
Rose Marie Allen, Vice-President
Our hearts are heavy this week with the images of George Floyd being suffocated in police custody. On the heels of the deaths of Ahmaud Aubrey, Breonna Taylor, Corey Jones, Oscar Grant, Botham Jean, Sandra Bland, and more, we need to look no further than our own communities to find current examples that build upon more than 400 years of injustice for black people in America. We see this in the striking, gaping disparities in how police and policymakers have responded to protests throughout the past month and the disproportionate sickness and death African-American, Latinx, and Native American communities are experiencing from this pandemic.
While we all grieve, we want to speak directly to those of you in our NAEYC family who root your identities in communities of color. Today, like too many other days, the trauma black, brown, and multiracial families and children are experiencing is a national crisis that requires action. As an organization, NAEYC sees your pain, and stands with you in grief. We condemn the generations of injustice along with the structural bias that causes disparities in outcomes based on where you live. We also want to speak directly to those of you who identify as an ally, and support you in recognizing personal implicit and explicit biases, and talking about, confronting, and responding to racism in our homes, neighborhoods, communities, and schools.
NAEYC’s core values uphold the dignity and worth of each individual. As we identify in our Advancing Equity in Early Childhood Education position statement, our goal is to nurture a more diverse and inclusive generation of young children who thrive through their experience of equitable learning opportunities in early learning programs. We aim for each child to “express comfort and joy with human diversity; to increasingly recognize injustice; and to have the will and the skills to act against prejudice.” We find ourselves pressing for the same for each adult in our nation today.
Our goals cannot be achieved without recognizing and dismantling the systems of bias that provide privilege to some and are unjust to others. That means committing—individually and collectively, again and again—to reflect and grapple with the racism in ourselves, our organizations, and our society. NAEYC continues to work towards advancing equity with humility and awareness of our history and limitations, and a recognition that no individual, leader or organization has all the answers. At the same time, we each have a role to play—as early childhood educators, administrators, faculty, students, advocates, and parents. We are each in a position where we can act and address the trauma our children are experiencing at the hands of racism apparent in the coronavirus’ disproportionate impacts, the police response to protests, the weaponizing of white privilege in our parks and streets, and the death of George Floyd.
On behalf of our entire organization, we commit to standing with you and relentlessly working together to create communities where each and every child, family, and educator can thrive.
Ann McClain Terrell
Rhian Evans Allvin
Chief Executive Officer
(see the original document here)