Opinion: COVID-19 is not the only pandemic we are experiencing - Generocity Philly

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Feb. 4, 2021 9:18 am

Opinion: COVID-19 is not the only pandemic we are experiencing

Guest columnist Ami Patel Hopkins says her sixth grade students have asked to talk about "real history" during Black Lives Matter Week of Action in Schools. She explores how to have a dialogue about systemic oppression and inequities with them.

(Photo by Zoe VandeWater on Unsplash)

This guest column was written by Ami Patel Hopkins. It represents her individual opinion and does not represent the viewpoints of organizations with which she is affiliated either professionally or personally.
This week is Black Lives Matter Week of Action in Schools.

I advise sixth graders, and with my fellow sixth grade advisors, we decided to devote the whole month to Black Lives Matter in honor of Black History Month. The students in my advisory talked a lot about privilege and how there needs to be more dialogue around who has it, and also “real history.”

I have been reflecting a lot since that conversation on Monday and thinking of how as their advisor I can facilitate a conversation where my advisees can continue to speak their truth, and also learn the “real history.”  These resources have helped me as I think about this:

I have also been thinking about how COVID-19 is not the only pandemic we are experiencing.  The definition of pandemic in Merriam-Webster is: “occurring over a wide geographic area (such as multiple countries or continents) and typically affecting a significant proportion of the population.”

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Using this definition, I believe the other pandemic is the inequity in our systems. BIPOC are experiencing the inequity of these systems that have been built on oppression.

There are recent local examples that clearly display this inequity:

As a mother and an educator, I will continue to empower my son and my students (our future) and continue to fight for a world of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion.

I challenge others to join me in this fight as without this collective effort, we cannot dismantle the inequity in our systems.

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If you have ideas about issues, policies, and/or perspectives that I should highlight in this column, please complete this submission form. My column focus areas will prioritize submission ideas. The dialogue can be continued at EdSpace. 

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