As I’m sure many of you can relate, watching actions in Washington unfold over the last week has been challenging—for my relatives, friends, colleagues, and the families we work closely with at Stand for Children. As my team and I sat down to our weekly staff meeting Monday, a time usually reserved for catching up after the weekend and strategizing about the work of the week ahead, there was silence. We are all processing the recent executive orders coming out of the White House and the implications that for now, the United States is unwelcoming of people suffering from hardship, persecution, and war. These executive orders are spreading chaos and fear around the country (and even worldwide).
As you no doubt read, President Trump signed several executive orders; two in particular stand out to me. One calls for the construction of a border wall along the U.S.- Mexican border and one has temporarily suspended immigration from seven Muslim-majority nations. Even more disturbing are the reports describing threats to refugee communities and bullying in schools because of race or country of origin.
At a time when our country should be uniting, the President’s actions are creating uncertainty and fear for many Americans, including our nation’s young children. As an organization that works with parents and teachers to ensure that all students have access to a great education, we strongly denounce these xenophobic executive orders. Now more than ever, we must stand united around the idea that we are all human, deserving of love, acceptance, safety, generosity, and hope. I believe that our country’s compassion and diversity—of race, background, culture, religion and perspective—are critical elements of what makes America great.
In the midst of frustration and worry, we applaud the actions of Denver Public Schools who, like many districts across the country, is working to ensure that in the wake of these actions all students feel welcome and safe in school. We encourage districts and schools to consider reviewing and updating their anti-bullying policies as well as ensuring that all school personnel are familiar with the policy as one way to help ensure their schools are safe places for all students.
For information on how you can support students, check out: Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance.