As an organization committed to engaged, responsible global citizenship, we and our community have been deeply impacted by this month’s violent attack on the Capitol, and the underlying and systemic issues that created the conditions for these events. And today, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we are deeply reflective about the implications. What transpired was appalling, but not surprising.
White supremacists have plagued this nation since its founding 245 years ago; their power has increased over the past four years with political leaders who share this ideology from state houses and Congress all the way to the White House. Marching through the People’s House to undermine the peaceful transition of power isn’t just an assault on our democracy, it is an assault on our humanity. Our team and our community of educators is committed to the continuous work of deepening our understanding of these issues, actively helping and supporting young people in finding their own agency to build a stronger and more equitable democratic society.
We must think carefully about how to repair the damage that has been done to our nation and dedicate ourselves to measurable action. How do we ensure that people do not fall prey to conspiracy theories and misinformation? How do we create a society that values and celebrates the diversity within it? How do we center equity when our systems weren’t designed by or for so many of our fellow Americans? How do we encourage democratic process participation with empathy, compassion, and a critical mind? And, how do we collectively support educators, young people, and families to be the local and global leaders and changemakers we all need?
It is these deep challenges that World Savvy was founded to overcome. We are working to educate and engage youth to learn, work, and thrive as responsible global citizens. Our community of educators integrates empathy, understanding, and inquiry-based competencies into classrooms to ensure the next generation can communicate across differences, think critically about facts and information, demonstrate empathy, and collaborate and problem-solve complex issues with diverse stakeholders. These events have made it clear there is much work to be done and we need to continue to learn, hone, practice, and improve in our efforts to advance our society beyond where it is today.
We need to strengthen our democracy and build the foundation for a more equitable society where there is no safe place for racism and prejudice. We must press on to reimagine learning for the 21st century in order to equip our children to address complex, real-world challenges, including an American democratic system that has been undermined by white supremacists.
As we celebrate the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, it is he who said, “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” Even as we further develop our intelligence by deepening, expanding, and adapting programming to answer these pressing questions and meet these challenges as an organization, we are also deeply introspective. We need to focus on our character, doing all we can to examine the ways we have participated in perpetuating systems of injustice, missed opportunities to be bolder and clearer about injustice, or failed to create transparent pathways for our community to hold us accountable. We invite you all to continue on this learning journey as well, and to call us out and in as we work to always uphold our values: to notice and disrupt exclusionary patterns, lean into complexity, believe big things are possible, and see the whole person – to name a few. This introspection and accountability will also help ensure we can achieve our urgent mission: to ensure the next generation of leaders have the skills and dispositions to thrive and lead in our diverse, interconnected global society.
Look for resources and support in leading dialogue with young people in your community coming from us in the months to come, to aid in this journey. Thank you for being a part of this community.
With hope and commitment,
The World Savvy Team