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Nationwide, PTAs can unite to oppose racism, sexism, xenophobia

By Tuesday, Nov 22, 2016 Letters

To the Editor:

My grandmother always advised, “Actions speak larger than words.” The hateful, discriminatory words that have flown around this election season are reason for action. Let us engage in actions that create social connections, build unity, demonstrate open-hearts, and welcome conversation.

From North Adams to Great Barrington and beyond, families are feeling legitimate fear. Immigrants are afraid their families may be torn apart by deportation. Religious groups are fearful of history repeating itself in deadly ways. All of us look to a future where our earth may become too polluted to survive. This is here, in our local community.

Perhaps most affected are our children. They are growing up in a world where many human rights on which America was built are in peril: clean air and water, safe schools, equal rights for women, minorities, and immigrants. To protect these rights for our children, we must unite in action.

One way for our individual actions to reach further is for Berkshire County parent-teacher organizations to collaborate. PTAs & PTOs are uniquely positioned to take action, as the largest volunteer child advocacy group in the nation. We can be bold where schools often need to be cautious. We can help teachers and administrators to be vigilant in preventing racism, sexism, and xenophobia. We can act, where others may use only words.

Think of the positive changes we could generate if all 4 million PTA members nationwide united in this cause of building safe, respectful, open-hearted learning environments. Joining your child(ren)’s PTA is one action step in moving this forward. Calling for collaboration across towns is another.

At Muddy Brook Elementary, we are brainstorming ways to increase human connections, further inclusion, celebrate differences, broaden students’ understanding of civics, and support families. It’s likely many area PTAs are in similar conversations. Imagine how much more effective we would be working together, learning from each other’s trials and successes, building on each other’s networks, and pooling resources.

At a time when our nation feels divided, we must strive to unite. PTA leaders across the county, please reach out and communicate. Muddy Brook leaders are listening at muddybrookpta@gmail.com, and eager to act together.

We are more alike than we are different. May our collective actions speak louder than words.

Tiffany Wilding-White

Muddy Brook PTA Leadership

Great Barrington, Mass.