The world was a different place before George Floyd was senselessly killed. In the last thirty days, our country and the world have stood together like never before to demand change, racial equity, and social justice. People of all identities have uniformly proclaimed that Black Lives Matter. In the midst of a global pandemic, activists, allies and accomplices stood together in face coverings, to insist that centuries of violence, trauma, and oppression committed against People of Color must not endure for future generations.
In many school communities, they rushed to decry racism and express hope that they might play a part in creating a more racially just world. Most importantly, many Students, Families, Alumni, and Faculty of Color in independent schools utilized social media and other platforms to share their narratives and experiences in a new context and light. They have challenged all of us to rededicate ourselves to the urgent and immediate work of making schools anti-racist institutions. And this education needs to start now and at as young an age as possible.
This June was equal parts dizzying and empowering; full of pain and full of hope. As we enter a truly singular summer in all of our lives, many of us are asking: How will schools make systemic change? What does an anti-racist school look like? How does it begin? (see diagram below). Recognizing that every school community is truly unique has always been at the heart of Pollyanna’s work. Our hope is to provide resources, support, and partnership for school communities. We offer any of the resources below, among others:
Branded marketing through an equity lens. Pollyanna and the integrated creative agency, Doublespace, have formed a partnership to help schools with communications and marketing challenges and needs.
Please also see our second Pollyanna Position Paper in which we asked over 100 Directors of Communications at independent schools: What advice would you give to your Head of School about communicating with your school’s community during this time of change and unrest? The perspectives shared offer strategies for schools to communicate authentically and responsively in the coming year.
We are excited to announce that we will be engaging in some of this work with several new schools in the Pollyanna family, including:
Allen-Stevenson School in New York
British International School in New York
Browning School in New York
Crane School in California
Dwight School in New York
Fessenden School in Massachusetts
Hackley School in New York
Horace Mann School in New York
King School in Connecticut
Portledge School in New York
Riverdale Country School in New York
St. Peter's School in Pennsylvania
Zicklin School of Business the City University of New York
Pollyanna’s mission has always been to advance systemic change by developing stronger communities. Suddenly, our social climate makes it feel as if this could be the mission for all schools, families, cities, and neighborhoods. We hope to partner with you in all of these contexts to make positive and enduring change. Please click here if you're interested in learning more about our work, and click here if you’d like to support our work.
Covid-19 and Systemic Racism
On June 4, NYSAIS and Pollyanna hosted a packed workshop: Why Has the Pandemic Disproportionately Impacted People of Color? An Informative Review of Systemic Racism, Its Impact, & Ways We May Create More Equity. In order to foster an anti-racist growth mindset, it is vital that we better understand how systemic racism created segregated, unequal living standards and limited access to social, economic, legal, and residential opportunities for people along lines of race. Monique Vogelsang, lead creator of Pollyanna’s Racial Literacy Curriculum, facilitated this workshop and outlined why the pandemic is impacting people of color at disproportionate rates. She traced the emergence of race and systemic racism in the United States, such as the limits placed on personhood, citizenship, immigration, housing, and other civil rights.
Building Community & Alliances at Sheppard Mullin
On June 19th, or Juneteenth, we had the incredible opportunity to work with Sheppard Mullin once again, presenting at their Virtual Diversity Retreat –– an event for lawyers who identify as people of color and/or part of the LGBTQ+ community. In our workshop, “Ways to Build Community & Alliances –– Personally, Professionally, and Virtually,” we reviewed best practices used by changemakers who devoted their life’s work to envisioning and creating a more anti-racist and/or anti-bias society. We also identified best practices that we ourselves can begin to adopt to enhance our abilities as allies, accomplices, and co-conspirators in order to build stronger communities for our personal and professional lives (and in a virtual context).
Have you downloaded our Curriculum? If you've downloaded it and hoped to use it, read it, used one lesson or implemented all the lessons in your grade, we'd love to hear from you! Please take a few minutes andfill out this survey. Thank you!
July 22, 2020 K-8 Racial Literacy Curriculum Professional Development:Join us for a 3-hour overview and in-depth discussion of Pollyanna's K-8 Racial Literacy Curriculum. Monique Vogelsang, lead creator of this curriculum, will guide you through a discussion about Pollyanna's Racial Literacy Curriculum, which is designed to help students gain knowledge about race as it has been constructed in the United States. Employing lessons in history, literacy, science, geography –– with STEAM extensions –– the curriculum supports students in acquiring an awareness of their own racial socialization and skills for engaging in productive conversations about race and racism. By the end of the workshop, participants will better understand how systemic racism is the root of current inequities and uprisings, and how we can approach the topics of race and racism with an anti-racist, growth mindset –– striving to maintain and embrace a sense of unity and dignity while doing so. Click here to register for the PD.
August 2020 Forums Return: We enjoyed welcoming friends and colleagues, and meeting new friends at our Zoom forums this spring: Equity in the New Normal and Parenting During a Pandemic. The forums were created when Covid-19 and distance learning presented many challenges. We expanded the discussions when George Floyd was murdered. Online discussion forums for parents and educators on DEI/current topics will resume in August: monthly for educators and periodically for parents. Please look for the registration information in our August newsletter. We look forward to seeing you again!
Becoming Anti-racist: The work of becoming anti-racist is ongoing for all of us who were raised in a society built upon racism. The image below, from Andrew M. Ibrahim MD, MSc is one way to visualize the phases of becoming anti-racist. The image was inspired by the work of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi .
Pollyanna advances systemic change by developing stronger communities.
Pollyanna works with academic and other institutions to achieve their diversity, equity and inclusion goals. Through its unique conference models, discussion platforms, and racial literacy curricula, Pollyanna increases cultural competence.
Pollyanna, Inc. is a NY not-for-profit corporation 501(c)(3).