As a Mexican-American born in Arizona, I encountered racists and was subjected to racism. As a mother, I worry about my college-age son as he navigates his way in the world, including interactions with the police. As I watched George Floyd suffocate and die under the knee of a white police officer, I felt its painful pressure in my own life, and the lives of my children, parents and grandparents.
In many ways, I am the manifestation of the dreams of my grandparents—a college graduate, earning a doctorate and living her passion in her professional career. Like so many of my brothers and sisters of color, I am both deeply grateful for my family’s sacrifices and the life I have, as well as painfully aware of the subtle—and not at all subtle—ways that my skin color informs people’s interactions with me, my family and countless others.
I share this to make explicit that if we are to confront the reality of racism, implicit bias and their painful outcomes, we need to talk about them in a very personal way.
CCAoA believes that equitable early childhood education must lift up all children and support their growth and development, while providing educational advancement in partnership with families. To do so, we must acknowledge the history of our country and the disparate impact that racism, past and present, has had on generations of Black and Brown Americans. We must acknowledge the pernicious effects of historical trauma and structural racism that have resulted in cumulative adverse economic and social impacts on people of color. And we must work to ensure that our early childhood and child care systems do not perpetuate—indeed, must actively work to reverse—the racism, poverty and lack of opportunity that exists in the United States.