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Advancing #EquityinECE Requires our Action as Individuals, Organizations, and Communities

June 5, 2020

Dear AzAEYC and SAZAEYC members, colleagues, and friends,

Advancing #EquityinECE requires our action as individuals, organizations, and communities. 

We would like to start by saying our hearts are with not only the families of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, but every other black life that has been cut short due to excessive use of force by officers of the law.

#BlackLivesMatter was founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer, and as we can see today, there is still much work to be done. We stand with communities protesting against racial injustice and oppression. We also would like to create safe spaces to amplify the voices of the disenfranchised.

Structural racism and systemic inequalities are detrimental to the health and well-being of black, brown, and indigenous children, their families, and early childhood educators. 

In 2019, the Governing Boards of the Arizona Association for the Education of Young Children (AzAEYC) and the Southern Arizona Association for the Education of Young Children (SAZAEYC) unanimously adopted the NAEYC Position Statement on Advancing Equity.

As Affiliates of NAEYC and local early childhood organizations, we committed to embrace diversity and inclusion as strengths, uphold fundamental principles of fairness and justice, and work to dismantle structural inequities that limit equitable learning opportunities. This doesn’t require us to be non-racist. It requires individuals, organizations, and the community to be courageous and work to be actively anti-racist.

Those of us with privilege must show up, stand beside, and speak out against injustice, racism, and inequity. 

We do not have all of the answers, but we do know that remaining silent perpetuates white supremacy and racism. We are learning to listen to the lived experiences of black, indigenous, and people of color. We are learning to do the research and increase our awareness of white privilege and white supremacy and how they have oppressed people of color for generations. We are learning to call out racism when we see and hear it and hold ourselves accountable to do better.

We invite you to join us.

Here are a few resources we’ve found helpful to guide our actively anti-racist efforts:

+Our Children, Our Workforce: Why We Must Talk About Race and Racism in Early Childhood Education (Matthews & Jordan, 2019)

+ Becoming Upended: Teaching and Learning about Race and Racism with Young Children and Their Families (Cole & Verwayne, 2018)

+ Black Boys Matter: Cultivating Their Identity, Agency, and Voice (Wright, 2019)

+ #BlackLivesMatter (2013)

+ Talking about Race: Being Antiracist (Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture, 2020)

+Anti-Racism Resources (National Women’s Law Center, 2020)

+Living the Advancing Equity Statement: Books, Articles, and Reports (NAEYC, 2020)

AzAEYC and SAZAEYC commit to fighting for equitable early learning opportunities for all of Arizona’s children, families, and educators. This work will be difficult, but it is necessary to build a society dedicated to helping our young learners reach their fullest potentials.

In unity,

Your Arizona Sister Affiliates of NAEYC

For more information about how NAEYC and its Affiliates are advancing equity in early childhood education, please read A Message from NAEYC: We Stand Together.