Equity & Access Newsletter

Secondary Edition

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#MeToo is giving voice to people who haven't before. What can we learn?

Even though the #MeToo movement has taken shape in Hollywood, it has created a landslide in other areas of the workplace. Women have learned to navigate toxic work environments for decades to keep their jobs and careers.

Why has our practice been to not take accusations by women seriously? We know if those accusations are true, people’s careers would be ruined and possibly even jail time. How devasting must it be for women not to be believed by the people who are supposed to protect them in the workplace? Not including the possibility of losing their livelihood and guilt they may suffer because they chose to come forward?

As a country have we valued talent over the safety, respect, and value of another human? We’ve seen this in the athletic arena before. Most recently with the NFL and Ray Rice, the football player who hit his fiance in an elevator and knocked her unconscious. The NFL and the team only reacted after the video of the assault was released. Before the video Rice only had a one-game suspension. The public outcry was so large, the NFL finally fired and banned Rice from the league for a period. The NFL issued several PSA where former and current players denounced abuse to help improve the image of the league.

Finally, women feel like they have a voice to come forward; and the best part is people are finally listening and believing them. Organizations have offered employee training on sexual harassment for decades. Why is there still such an issue of sexual misconduct in workplaces? How do we begin to have these conversations with our students?

Here are several resources that may be able to help you navigate the conversation.

The Reckoning: Teaching About the #MeToo Moment and Sexual Harassment With Resources From the New York Times

Sexual Harassment and the Next Generation: How to Talk With Young People

Sexual Harassment in the News

What's In Your Toolbox?

A Self-Care Checklist for Educators

With incidents of trauma like the Florida school shooting, teachers find ways to help and support their students. Sometimes not taking care of their needs after a traumatic or difficult events. Here is a checklist educators can use to navigate and deal with stressful traumatic incidents.

Calculate: Take notice of your own feelings at that time. Are you mad, upset, anxious? Place a number on the intensity of the feeling by using a one to ten scale with ten being overwhelmed and one is not intense. By choosing a number, you're increasing your level of awareness to accurately reflect your feelings.

Locate: Where is that feeling in your body? Is it a pit in your stomach, shallowed breathing, or increased heart rate? Be as specific as you can with the location. If you know the area, you have a better opportunity of being able to decrease the level of intensity.

Communicate: Your self-talk can have a significant influence on how you may make future decisions. The more you accurately reflect on your inner dialogue, the better opportunity you have where your self-talk won't undermine your thinking.

Breathe and Exhale: Purposeful deep breathing during stressful events can increase your clarity and can help with the ability to gather more details during that situation. Intentional breathing can help you from over or under-reacting to an event.

Tell the Story: When under severe stress, being able to document and tell your story is critical. Document the event by journaling or talking to someone you trust. Storytelling can be difficult if you're not aware of what's going on with you mentally, physically, and emotionally.

A Self-Care Checklist (article)

“A Self-Care Checklist.” A self-Care checklist | Penn GSE, 15 Nov. 2016, www.gse.upenn.edu/news/self-care-checklist.

Q & A: Why African American Women Don’t Want People Touching Their Hair?

Have you noticed when people see a pregnant woman they just have to touch their bellies without permission? That's one experience that gives people a little familiarity with what African American women go through with people wanting to touch their hair. Some women have been known to get upset or angry when random people come up and feel their hair. Most choose not to say anything because it's just a part of their world and it's not worth it to engage in the debate of why their hair is off limits. So what's the big deal?

An African American woman's hair is part of her identity where she can express who she is and what she wants to portray to the world socially and/or politically. Regardless of the style it usually takes hours for women to do their hair. I remember as a child my mother would easily spend three or four hours at the beauty salon. There is also the issue of respect, and to not ask permission before is rude. Even if you do ask, you may be shocked at the response you receive (tread lightly). For some, touching their hair makes women feel like a pet and less like a human being. African American women also don't feel like it's always their responsibility to educate others about their hairstyle and texture.

This act of wanting to touch and feel an African American woman's hair is considered a micro-aggression; which many women deal with on a regular basis. The time and energy African American women put into their hair to get it the way they want is significant. For someone to touch and not know where their hands have been can feel unclean with the unintentional consequence of messing up the style. If you're interested in learning more, be intentional and respectful on your journey.

About Black Women's Hair - Learn more about African American women's hair and why they can create so many different styles.

Caring for Your African-American or Biracial Chid's Hair

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