by Marsha Rakestraw

The news is full of the aftermath of Orlando. People are holding memorials around the world.

We’re scared. Angry. Frustrated. Disheartened.

We’re grappling with how we talk about tragedies like Orlando with our kids. We’re arguing about the connections to prejudice and gun control and religious influences and toxic masculinity.

Librarians and teachers have compiled a #PulseOrlandoSyllabus full of relevant LGBTQ and Latinx resources.

But as with other groups who’ve experienced generations of oppression and violence, this is one of a seemingly endless number of tragedies that tell certain people that they matter less. That they have no right to feel safe. That we prefer prejudice and violence over the hard work of transforming systems and ourselves.

Teacher Christian Torres, in a recent Teaching Tolerance column, urged teachers to talk with students about what happened in Orlando, and the larger connected issues.

She said, “Education is a key way that we will dismantle prejudices and biases within our systems, ourselves and our students. That dismantling will not happen if we stay silent. That can’t occur if we run away from the issues.”

As humane educators and changemakers, it’s vital that we refuse to stay silent whenever we witness oppression, cruelty, and exploitation. We must work to educate others and to help create systems that nurture compassion, justice, and equity.

Start with the resources from our LGBTQ and Gender Identity Issues guide on Pinterest.

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