How Educators Can Make the Holidays More Inclusive
by the Rocketship Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion National Leadership Team
The holiday buzz is already starting to hum across schools, homes, and offices. As educators who strive to create diverse, inclusive, equitable, and anti-racist spaces, we know that navigating this season can bring up challenges and opportunities as the dominant culture’s practices can exclude or ignore other experiences. We encourage educators to be mindful of how this holiday season is impacting young people in their schools.
In an effort to be affirming, reflective, and critical about how we approach and celebrate holidays as school communities, here is a list of resources for educators and families that aims to provide an inclusive understanding of religious holidays celebrations and strategies for supporting all students.
A Racial Justice Guide to the Winter Holiday Season for Educators and Families
The Center for Racial Justice in Education has an excellent collection of resources for educators during the winter holidays. In addition to resources specifically for educators, it covers topics like Christian privilege, Kwanzaa, Islam & Islamophobia, Judaism & Anti-Semitism, Three Kings Day, Whiteness and the holidays, and mental health. If you only have time for one resource–we recommend you bookmark this one!
In addition to this great resources, we’ve also linked some information on November and December holidays:
Dia de los Muertos
Earlier this month many of our school communities celebrated this Mexican holiday honoring ancestors with beautiful oferendas and special landings! Here are some pre-covid photos from a past Rocketship Day of the Dead celebration as well as some information from PBS on learning about this important Mexican holiday as well as it’s history of cultural appropriation.
Diwali and Bandi Chhor
This past week our Hindu and Sikh Rocketeers celebrated two important holidays, Diwali and Bandi Chhor Divas. If you and your students would like to learn more about these holidays, check out this video made by Ms. Gagan Kaur from Rocketship Fuerza. You won’t be disappointed!
Transgender Day of Remembrance
November 20 honors the memory of the transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence. Learn more about Trans Awareness Week on Glaad’s website. You can also check out these tips for how to be an ally, a glossary of terms and this guide for Parents of Transgender and Gender-Expansive Youth.
The American story has been profoundly shaped by Native Americans, yet the stories told about Native people are often false and almost always incomplete. Register for the National Museum of the Native American’s webinar on December 17th to learn how Native people are actively reshaping these narratives today. You can also check out Nashville Public Library’s blog on Tackling Racism in Children’s Classics: The Thanksgiving Story or this teaching Thanksgiving resource compilation from the Center for Racial Justice in Education.
As the last month in the Gregorian Calendar comes to a close there are lots of opportunities to learn about some different December holidays like Chanuka, Kwanza, and Christmas. It’s also a good opportunity to talk about the Lunar New Year!
Gathering with Family
No matter what holidays you are celebrating this year, we know it is different. Here are some tips on how to celebrate safely during COVID. Teen Vogue also has a good roundup of resources on challenging bigoted relatives over the holidays, or you can listen to this NPR podcast about having better conversations about race with family.
The pressure of feeling festive and happy during holidays can bring up a mix of emotions, especially in 2020. Feelings of anxiety, sadness, and depression are common and can be amplified for families of color and marginalized communities. Mental Health America and Northwestern Medicine have some good resources about navigating the holidays during covid.
Do you have more ideas about how to celebrate the holidays with an inclusive spirit? Share with us @RocketshipSchools on social!
The Rocketship Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) National Leadership Team: Our vision is to unleash the full potential of our incredible team and communities by purposefully pursuing representation in our communities and breaking down barriers to power. At Rocketship, we work to create a safe, collaborative environment that celebrates our differences and strengthens our community. Our pursuit of diversity, equity, and inclusion recognizes the systemic inequality of opportunity in our society, and we seek to address these disparities.
Published on November 18, 2020