Pollyanna officially turns 5 this fall!
In a relatively short period of time, we have moved from hosting a conference in New York City to hosting conferences at schools across the country. We have developed a free K-8 Racial Literacy Curriculum and Parent/Guardian Companion Guide that has been downloaded over 4,000 times from our website. We have partnered with schools and organizations on Community Assessments, parent education, and professional development. Most importantly, we have connected and formed relationships with thousands of individuals to forward the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
While we are amazed at our growth, we also recognize that, if we were a “human” 5 year old, we would be starting kindergarten, learning to read, making new friends, and trying to keep our shoes tied. For as far as we’ve come, we know the journey forward will bring more learning, more discovery, and, we hope, the joy and fulfillment that comes from deepening relationships and helping to transform communities into more welcoming and inclusive places for all. Who knows what we’ll be able to do when we’re 10?
As Election Day draws near, we wish to lift up the idea that free and open participation in the democratic process is, in and of itself, a means of creating a more just and equitable society. The act of voting should be free from fear and intimidation, as it is our most basic form of political inclusion. If you have not yet done so, please make a plan to vote. It is not too late. Every voice matters. Every vote matters.
Pollyanna’s efforts to encourage participation have not been limited to voting. Over the course of the summer and fall, we have partnered with the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) to publish a four chapter study entitled Civil Discourse in Independent Schools: The 2020 Election and Beyond. Using a nationwide survey of Heads of School, Senior Administrators, and Teachers at Independent schools, we highlighted educators’ hopes and fears as related to the 2020 election process at schools. We used this data to generate helpful resources and recommendations for civil discourse at all NAIS member schools. On Monday, October 19, Pollyanna partnered with NAIS to host a webinar on the topic of civil discourse that was attended by over 200 educators. Thank you to the Stavros Niarchos Foundation for its support of this important project.
Some of the conditions of autumn 2020 were largely unimaginable when Pollyanna was founded in autumn 2015. If we were asked about where we saw ourselves in 5 years, it is doubtful we would have said, “In the middle of a life-changing viral pandemic, a ground-shifting movement for racial justice, and an election with possibly existential consequences for American democracy…all at the same time.” However, the threads of equity, inclusion, and justice currently tie all of these challenges together. Who has access to resources? Who can make their voice heard? What stories and narratives matter? Who is being silenced? These questions have always been at the heart of our work with schools and organizations from the beginning. Though no one could anticipate this moment 5 years ago, we feel like we are doing the work that matters most during a challenging time.
Please consider celebrating Pollyanna's 5 years of impact by making a donation. Thank you for your continued support of this vital work.