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Compassionate Community in Action
November 10, 2023
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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Comments (3)

Displaying All 3 Comments
margie carter · November 10, 2023
Seattle, WA, United States

While I share your frustration and anger, I would express the sentiment differently: We haven't yet figured out how to use our power. Is that because we don't care enough? Are waiting for someone else to rescue us? Feel we can't find the energy or time? What will we have to give up in order to take action? One or two of us seems too small...what would it take to make a mighty roar, to bring this unfair system to it's knees? Have we done the work of joining with others to develop a vision of what we will replace this nightmare with? Where DO we find sources of inspiration, strength, determination, those we can link arms with for the long haul?

Kirsten Haugen · November 10, 2023
Eugene, OR, United States

Yes, Frances, I think it's up to us to come together and speak up together, to own our own profession. It's one of the things I love about Carol Garboden Murray's book Illuminating Care because it rejects the idea that others outside our field can define what care is or deny its foundational importance.

Francis Wardle · November 10, 2023
University of Phoenix/ Red Rocks Community College
Denver, Colorado, United States

Rukia Rogers writes, "It requires us to stand up and take fierce action, to question every decision we make within the classroom, to question the choices in who holds power, whose voices are missing from within our space."

When are we in the early childhood field going to do this? We have no power! We don't get to make choices about what we teach and how we teach? Colorado has just passed a "universal preschool bill". Were average early childhood teachers consulted? NO! It was designed by politicians. In my community college early childhood teachers have to attend classes on evenings and weekends, because they must work during the day. But the college cafetiere is closed evenings and weekends. BECAUSE WE HAVE NO POWER! Preschool teachers in public schools are told what to do by school principals who don't have a single class in child development. WE MUST TAKE FIERCE ACTION!

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