For the last two weeks, we have all been horrified and saddened by the killings at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church –- known to most as Mother Emanuel -– in Charleston, South Carolina. And wondering what we might do. Wishing there was something that could make it all less senseless, something that might relieve the grief of the families left behind.
On Saturday, having done nothing beyond telling my South Carolinian friends how sorry I am, I watched President Obama's eulogy for the Reverend Clementa Pinckney, Mother Emanuel's current pastor, and one of the nine who was struck down in the shootings. The eulogy was beautiful, constructed so we could see the astonishing, unexpected, utterly amazing grace of the families whose forgiveness of the alleged shooter has opened the door to reconciliation.
The President referenced schools a number of times as places where hope grows, because providing children with an excellent education is a way to generate another form of grace that could emerge from this horrible event.
Several times in his eulogy, the President pointed out that we need not be deserving of grace to receive it –- God provides it anyway. But surely, if anyone deserves grace, it is the children who come into our care all across our nation. In that spirit, I call on all of us –- each of the 720,000 registered Teaching Channel members -– to commit to finding one thing each of us might do to provide more equitable opportunities for the students we serve in the coming school year. To paraphrase the President, to provide the same opportunities for Jamal as we do for Johnny. Together, we might generate our own form of educational grace, something we are uniquely suited to do.
Throughout the summer, Teaching Channel will be providing resources to teach with social justice in mind, and to help create more equitable classrooms.