By JJ Shirley, President, TPSA
Last Thursday, my husband Raphael and I attended the Progressive Talk brought to the TPS community by Brian L. Johnson (Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion), TPSA, and the Family Diversity Committee (FDC). As white parents of three white boys, we recognize the need for conversations in our home about race and racism, but we are not necessarily sure how to go about having them. We had attended previous talks on similar topics, and while informative and interesting, they had left us feeling as though we still didn’t know what to do. We were both hoping to come away from Thursday’s talk with some tools to help us navigate a topic with which we have little direct experience.
The evening’s format proved to be extremely useful, with discussion and research from the presenters –Brian L. Johnson and TPS parents Dayna Muniz (FDC) and Michele McKenna (FDC) – followed by breakout scenario workshops. The workshops afforded the parents in attendance the opportunity to grapple with real-life possibilities and exchange ideas for how to deal with them ourselves and in relation to our children. Having these multiple perspectives, which were then shared with the entire group, provided us with new ways to think about and approach the issue of race and racism, both within our family and as we encounter it in the world.
For those of you unable to attend the event, I encourage you to look through Talking About Race, a document created by Brian, Dayna, and Michele that has several useful resources for talking about race. I also encourage those in our community who are looking for help and guidance, on any topic, to attend presentations like this one. You will be surprised at how much you come away with.