Monday, October 17 the Diversity Committee of the Waldron Mercy Academy Board of Trustees hosted an evening and conversation on racial literacy directed by Dr. Howard Stevenson. Dr. Stevenson, a professor at the Penn Graduate School of Education, recently published the book Promoting Racial Literacy in Schools: Differences that Make a Difference (Teachers College Press), which “focuses on how educators, community leaders, and parents can emotionally resolve face-to-face racially stressful encounters that reflect racial profiling in public spaces, fuel social conflicts in neighborhoods, and undermine student emotional well-being and academic achievement in the classroom” (source)
The Diversity Committee at Waldron, in their commitment to promoting courageous conversations with the entire WMA community, invited Dr. Stevenson to campus and opened the event to the greater Montgomery County community. Faculty, staff, parents and board members, along with several individuals from other schools listened as Dr. Stevenson shared his story and his point of view of dealing with racially driven conversations. Waldron Mercy Academy middle school director, Theresa Gannon, reflected on the talk: “He shared his conversations with his own son, which was a great example of modeling and how all parents can talk to their own children.”
Dr. Stevenson emphasized to the audience the importance of:
Taking the stress and emotion out of tense conversationsBeing aware of your emotional levels when talking about race and adjusting accordinglyHow to have conversations with adults around the issue of race and how to speak to your children.