Letters to the Editor

Helping our students spread their wings

To the editor:

These challenging times have brought out some of the best in us — as a teacher, I am so encouraged by the work of my colleagues and students. Their willingness and positivity shines through as we all adapt to the new “normal” in education. 

We educators face innumerable obstacles in the face of COVID-19 and the current national climate, which elicits new information every day about the systemic racial injustice that has pervaded our great country since its inception. It is so easy to get bogged down by the status quo.

However, we don’t have to accept the status quo. We can change it by helping our students to spread their wings and explore the world around them. By heightening focus on empathy, inclusion and diversity, our young community will be prepared to engage more effectively in the multicultural landscape that they’ll discover on those journeys. They will learn about folks from different ethnic, socioeconomic, religious and political backgrounds and gain a very useful tool that seems to be lacking: the ability to disagree or differ from one another in a kind, compassionate, empathetic, respectful way. Just imagine what a world that would create.

We need to elect officials who believe in teaching our children to care deeply for family, community, nation, and connections to all humanity, regardless of ethnicity, nationality, religion, gender identity or sexual orientation. Maine’s 129th Legislature advanced important legislation promoting wider implementation of educational awareness programs related to slavery in America and the Holocaust, curricula that would bring additional focus to the social, political and economic conditions that engender polarization, oppression and injustice in society. Unfortunately, these bills were carried over to special session when the Legislature adjourned due to COVID-19. They are unlikely to pass into law this year, making it critical for Maine to again elect representatives committed to these and similar initiatives in November. 

I ask readers to please consider our future generations at the polls; please vote for legislators who lead by example and demonstrate genuine courage, kindness and compassion, who will work for equal rights for all. After all, our children’s future is at stake.

Nicholas Foster

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