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Compassionate Community in Action

What we must do is commit ourselves to some future that can include each other and to work toward that future with the particular strengths of our individual identities. And in order for us to do this, we must allow each other our differences at the same time as we recognize our sameness.
Audre Lorde, intersectional feminist poet, civil rights activist, 1934-1992

In Our Beloved Community: Supporting Children’s Compassion, Kinship, and Activisman Exchange Hub video, Rukia Monique Rogers defines community at the Highlander School, "When we think about the beloved community, we think in terms of a community of care, where everyone's basic human rights are met, and we can thrive in a world free of harm, a world absent of poverty, a world where basic rights such as housing and food are met. We think about this in our day-to-day work with children... We fundamentally believe that empathy is the root of social justice.”

When considering how we honor the voices of children during times of turmoil, Rukia Rogers offers, "It requires us to stand up and take fierce action, to question every decision we make within a classroom, to question the choices in who holds power, whose voices are missing from within our space."

Rukia offers this reflection on discussing difficult subjects such as genocide, war, and poverty with children: "We allow for a lot of materials for children to express the way they are feeling…Children do a really good job of handling big subjects such as death… It is often the parents who need more support to navigate these issues, and that is often dealt with through a conversation, a letter, a heads-up."

Rukia shares this insight on the kinship of children: "Children have limitless possibilities of what it is to be in the beloved community that includes the more than human worlds, that includes the trees, the ants, the animals… Listening to children has the power to transform the way we approach teaching in early childhood education."

Rukia Monique Rogers, along with Stories of Resistance editor Alissa Mwenelupembe, and co-authors authors Crystal Sanford-Brown, Meghan Green, and Kelly Ramsey all have presentations at the NAEYC Annual Conference next week. Visit Exchange Press at booth #1517 and enter to win a copy of their book!


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