On September 1st my grandmother turned 86. This means she was born on Sept 1, 1924 and that was a long time ago.
For her birthday she went on a “tropical island cruise” stopping in places like Honduras and the Cayman Islands.
She grew up in Long Creek, North Carolina. “Grandma, did you ever imagine when you were a little girl in North Carolina that you would be going on a cruise on your 86th birthday?!”
“No, I didn’t even know those places existed. And when we were growing up if we ever wanted to go to the beach we couldn’t-because black people were not allowed there.” she says.
“Mhmm…” she says.
So I sit in silence for a bit and think about this and ask.. “what about the black beaches?”
and she tells me that the only black beach was quite far away and once you got there, you had to take a ferry to the beach.
and then I think about this some more and am reminded why these stories are important-and why I must keep working to make our BSD community an equitable space.
and this conversation with my grandmother (Oretha) also reminded me of a great book I have been meaning to share!
“Through accessible language and candid discussions, Storytelling for Social Justice explores the stories we tell ourselves and each other about race and racism in our society. Making sense of the racial constructions expressed through the language and images we encounter every day, this book provides strategies for developing a more critical understanding of how racism operates culturally and institutionally in our society. Using the arts in general, and storytelling in particular, the book examines ways to teach and learn about race by creating counter-storytelling communities that can promote more critical and thoughtful dialogue about racism and the remedies necessary to dismantle it in our institutions and interactions. Illustrated throughout with examples drawn from high school classrooms, teacher education programs, and K-12 professional development programs, the book provides tools for examining racism as well as other issues of social justice. For every teacher who has struggled with how to get the “race discussion” going or who has suffered through silences and antagonism, the innovative model presented in this book offers a practical and critical framework for thinking about and acting on stories about racism and other forms of injustice”