Operation Uplift: Possibilities, Not Problems

Steps to Changing the Narrative

I am so disturbed by a situation and I don’t know what else to do, so I write. I’ve been saying this since I began teaching and my opinion has not changed. The current education system was not created for African America children to be successful. It is a system built for assimilation from the clutches of oppression and that same system is a reflection of the greater society; a system that never intended to foster equality for people of color.

“Black Lives Matter” is shouted because Black lives do not matter. It is not about being better than anyone else; it is about being viewed as equals and not as an inferior class of citizenry. People want to be noticed, heard, accepted and welcomed and it is time to demand the same for children.

As most of you know, I offer coaching and consulting services and I work with children and adults from diverse backgrounds and situation. This week I had an opportunity to meet with a group of families who have suffered in the past and continue to suffer presently due to the greater society’s unwillingness to understand their despair. I don’t want to give specific details because I respect anonymity but I will say most of these families have children who attend public school. These families experienced a situation that required a large police presence in their community with officers invading their homes and property. I support the need to investigate any crime so that is not my issue.

Here is my concern; how do you support the children who have to go to school the next day. What are we prepared to do when students witness terrifying activities in their homes and have lost their sense of security? How do we support them? What protocols need to be put in place? What would have been done if these families represented the suburban community?

Image courtesy of Unsplash

There is no point in asking. Counselors would have been on staff. Students would have been given an opportunity to digest the occurrences from the previous evening. The staff would have been informed of the delicate situation and the parents would have been reassured.

So back to my original statement: The current education system was not created for African America children because it is a microcosm of our society. African Americans are treated as lesser citizens in society and the same is true for school systems. Being present does not imply being welcomed and so continues the struggle for descendants of Africans in America.

So how do we change the narrative?

Let’s think in terms of Possibilities, not Problems.

Step 1: Make connections and build bridges. Introduce your friends to each other.

Step 2: Acknowledge your privilege. Speak out on behalf of the oppressed.

Step 3: Be open. Engage people with differences and learn from their experiences.

Step: Hold leaders and organizations accountable. You are your brother’s keeper.

What I know for sure: Our unwillingness to acknowledge the pain of others does not imply that the pain does not exist it only reveals our lack of humanity.


Dr. Shanelle R. Benson Reid, President and CEO of ACCESS Global, LLC. is a Consultant, Coach, Author and Professional Speaker. Her expertise is in Education, Cultural Competency, Social Awareness, Entrepreneurship and Community / Individual Empowerment.

Feel free to connect. I enjoy feedback and comments.

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