AAPI Listening Session – Thurs. April 22nd at 7pm

Our Hazel Wolf family groups will host a listening session for the Asian American and Pacific Islander families on this Thursday, April 22nd from 7-8:30pm. 

Please register in advance for this meeting. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

This is in response to the increasing hate crimes and racism happening to our Asian American and Pacific Islander community. While this is a specific forum for Asian American and Pacific Islander families, all are welcome. We ask that if you are not Asian American or Pacific Islander that you put yourself in a listening and learning stance to allow space for this community to talk and process. We will have break out rooms for more targeted discussion by race and ethnic groups.

Are you curious as to why there would be groups by different races when there is so much talk about anti-racism and inclusion? Please read this to learn more: Racial Affinity Groups Aren’t Racist – They are the Secret Sauce in Antiracist Schools

This event is sponsored by: FET, REC, PTSA and Hazel Wolf staff   
Racial Equity Committee: ptsa_rec@hazelwolfk8.org 
Hazel Wolf PTSA: president@hazelwolfk8.org
Family Engagement Team Lead: sajida.rehman@gmail.com

Hazel Wolf K-8 PTSA Response to Asian, Asian American, Pacific Islander Hate Crimes

Anti-Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander xenophobic harassment are on the rise across the U.S. Unfortunately, anti-Asian and Asian American racism and xenophobia are not new phenomena. It has been part of our histories for a long time. As the coronavirus pandemic continues, we have seen more harassment, discrimination, and even violence directed at these communities. Even before the horrific shooting in Atlanta, Anti-Asian and Asian American hate crimes have been on the rise including our own neighborhood of Pinehurst. The Hazel Wolf Parent Racial Equity Committee (REC) and the greater Hazel Wolf Parent, Student, Teacher Association (PTSA) stand in solidarity with our Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community to condemn harassment, racism and xenophobia.

The “Model Minority” myth and a shared value in many Asian cultures of respecting elders and authority have lead to many Asian and Asian Americans to not rock the boat and speak out about racist acts they have faced. Our Hazel Wolf community supports our AAPI families and we want our AAPI community to be seen, heard, and valued.  

Our Hazel Wolf family groups will host a listening session for the Asian American and Pacific Islander families on the evening of Thursday April 22ndZoom (Coming soon!)

Sponsored by: Family Engagement Team, Racial Equity Committee, PTSA and the Hazel Wolf staff.    

Here are some resources (we know there are many more!!) and things you can do to support:

Racial Equity Committee Update: About The Pushback to the Community of Practice for White Women

By Maureen McCauley, Communications, Hazel Wolf K-8 Racial Equity Committee (REC)

The Hazel Wolf Community of Practice (CP) for White Women began in June 2020. It is an action of the Hazel Wolf PTSA Racial Equity Committee (REC). In the month or so after the CP was announced, we received at least three emails from White people about why we created a group “segregated by race and gender,” as one writer termed it. 

Here’s a bit of background on our CP, and our response to those who’ve asked about why we did this:

The PTSA Racial Equity Committee (REC) formed in 2018. Since that time, we have sponsored multiple events open to the entire HW school community promoting racial equity in our school. I can share a separate document that gives an overview of REC’s work to anyone who’s interested. The HW REC, by the way, is currently made up of 60% Black, Asian, and mixed race members. The decision to create these CPs arose from the groundwork of other general offerings. 

In particular, the Community of Practice for White Women evolved from a March 2020 event, when the four White women on REC held a workshop titled “White Women: How Can We Do Better Talking About Race and Racism?” We undertook the creation of the CP in consultation with the leadership and support of our Black and Brown REC members. REC approved the idea of a CP for White women, in part so that we White women could do the anti-racism work that is desperately needed without asking more labor from our Black and Brown colleagues. Some of you may be familiar with affinity groups or racial caucuses. Our CP is similar in concept.

I want to stress that we White CP facilitators report back to REC on what we are doing, and they offer insights and advice as they are able to do so. 

REC was asked also about forming a CP for White men, and two volunteers stepped forward, again with the agreement/support of REC, and they created that CP. 

The possibility of a CP for BIPOC was raised but, at this time, no one is available to volunteer to lead such a group. 

We focused separately on White women and White men (those who identify themselves as such—we are of course open to trans women or men, or non-binary folx) because of the power dynamics in society related to genders. We have had conversations in our CP for White women about healing from sexism to become better allies in anti-racist work. White men are the dominant, historic power-holders in our society, and of course we White women hold great power as well. We hope to create a community that reflects on how racism has been formed in us as White people from childhood on, and how we can be better allies and accomplices in anti-racist work. We rely on resources and readings by BIPOC, and we regularly check in with our colleagues on REC. Some of the focus has been on how White parents can help their White children to talk about and speak out against racism.

The CP for White women has met eight times so far. We always provide a resource list that is almost exclusively based on articles and books by BIPOC. We are working on accountability and anti-racist actions.

The CP for White men has met, I think, four or five times. They have been focusing on Layla Saad’s Me and White Supremacy workbook. Like the CP for White women, they have checked in regularly with REC members.

On a related note, following the October 2019 peaceful protest, HW began a task force on creating affinity groups for Black and Brown students. That is still being discussed by school administrators and a Task Force, but since schools closed in March, I believe it’s been on a sort of hold, and I am not certain what it might look like this fall.

HW also has a Racial Equity Team (RET) that is comprised of HW teachers, staff, and administrators. Like most public schools in America, the HW teachers, staff, and admins are mostly white. The RET work has largely focused on curriculum issues and professional development. REC and RET members have attended trainings together on racial equity in schools a couple of times.

I’d like to stress that the HW PTSA has declared racial equity work as a priority, and has supported the work of REC in many ways, for which we are grateful. The two new PTSA co-chairs (Marina Gray, a Black woman, and Camille Mulchi, a White woman) were formerly members of REC, and both are active in anti-racist work in and outside the school.

A reality in racial equity work is, for me at least, the expectation that folx  (whatever their race) will question and push back on almost everything. We White folx are especially prone to making mistakes and offending or even harming BIPOC. We nonetheless have to keep moving on in this work, learning from our mistakes, apologizing and making amends whenever possible, and encouraging open dialogues and growth. 

Here are some resources we shared with our CP regarding white women in anti-racist work:

Take care, everyone. Stay well.

Pandemic Pods and More: A Message from our HW PTSA REC Co-Chair

by Ardel Jala, Hazel Wolf PTSA Racial Equity Committee Co-Chair

My colleague on a zoom call for work asked me, “Did you hear the news? Seattle Public Schools will be 100% online learning in the fall.”  With the transmission rates rising, I knew this announcement from Superintendent Juneau was likely.  It still felt like a gut punch.  What would we do?  I didn’t want a repeat of the spring.  It had been difficult to keep our boys focused and engaged in the virtual classroom.  When working at home this spring, I realized in my workday I was never fully present either as a parent or an employee.  It was frustrating and I know I wasn’t alone in that feeling.

It took me awhile to figure out that the online recommendation by the Superintendent was not a done deal.  Seattle Public Schools (SPS) still had to negotiate the terms of returning to school with the Seattle Education Association (SEA) – the union that represents Seattle Public School Educators.  The school district came up with draft recommendations for a return to school, including draft remote learning schedule, special education services, and grading policies.  Those teaching and learning recommendations must be voted on by the School Board on August 12.  More info planning for re-entry can be found on the SPS website here

It is almost three weeks before school and we don’t have the specifics about what school will look like when we go back to school.  Amidst all of this uncertainty, families are trying to figure out what is best for their child’s learning and family situation as a return to school.  As you look at solutions, ask yourself, is the solution you are considering equitable?  Covid19 is affecting Black, Indigenous, Latinx and other people of color the most. There is already an educational opportunity gap in this country.  What happens to that gap when students move to private schools or are provided learning opportunities that their peers do not have?  Who gets left behind?

Families may be considering private school or homeschooling.  Please reconsider. By withdrawing your child from Seattle Public Schools, that will directly take funds away from the school district.  Those funds are needed to keep as robust a learning experience as possible for all.  You may think that by moving your child from SPS, another student will have an opportunity to join this option school.  That is true.  However, why are you moving your student?  What are you solving? What access to learning is private school affording that public school is not?  While changing schools may make sense on some levels, is this solution equitable?

Families may be considering pandemic pods for their children.  Some families may need these for childcare.  They may be seeking them for social interaction.  Others see a potential gap in what the schools may be able to provide via virtual learning and want to provide supplemental learning.  Much has been written about the inequity of pandemic pods.  See articles here and hereIn some areas, public school teachers have been approached to lead these private pandemic pods.  Please don’t do that.  We need all our Hazel Wolf K8 teachers.

This article “On Covid 19 and Micro-schooling, Pods and More” by Integrated Schools shared these items to consider:  

  1. In thinking about my own childcare needs, am I thinking about solutions that do not further exacerbate existing inequities? 
  2. Am I clear on what is a need and what is a desire?
  3. Can I consider how I might be more focused on equity – on solutions for those with the most needs?
  4. Instead of thinking “how can I make sure my (privileged) kid doesn’t fall behind?” – can I ask myself, “how can I help to strengthen the public institutions we all depend on?”
  5. How can I channel my energy, fear, rage into demands that benefit ALL kids? Into supporting structures that will help my entire community?
  6. Are my solutions for my kids founded on a fear of missing out on what my privileged peers are getting for their children, or on what my kids truly need?
  7. Can I think about what’s best for my child in the same way we think about public health  – that is, as something where the solutions lie not in maximizing individual benefit, but in working together for the greater good, as a community?
  8. Can I lean into relationships in my community to inform my ideas about what may be needed for my community in the fall?   
  9. Can I consider giving my district a chance to offer support to the most vulnerable first – special education students, emerging English language speakers, kids who rely on school for meals, etc, before making demands that serve my kid?  
  10. Have I searched for local organizations (particularly those run by BIPOC) who are pushing for equitable approaches to these current situations and can I join with them? 

I don’t know that we will have a clear vision of what return to school will look like for our children until we actually return to school.  And even then, I think that vision will need to be fluid and adapt to changing student needs as school and family situations change during this health epidemic.  Throughout this year, I hope that we can come together as a community to figure out how best to adapt.  I hope that return to school and virtual learning doesn’t extend inequalities. I hope that we as a community find ways to support all Hazel Wolf K8 students, especially our English language learners, those with individual education plans (IEPs), those who are food insecure, our special education students and those students furthest removed from educational justice.

While the above reflects my personal opinion, I’ve posted it to this site with the agreement and support of the Hazel Wolf PTSA Racial Equity Committee.  Pandemic pods and withdrawing students from SPS are examples of the growing inequities surfacing as public schooling evolves during Covid19.  There is no single solution that will work for all.  Please feel free to send comments or questions to:  ptsa_rec@hazelwolfk8.org We welcome all dialogue. 

Today at 5pm – Hazel Wolf Community Gathering – Support Black Lives

Hazel Wolf PTSA Racial Equity Committee invites our school community to join together to stand united in support of all Black lives and against racial injustice.

When: Friday, June 12 at 5pm

Gathering at two locations: Hazel Wolf K-8 School AND Lake City Way at 125th St. (SE Corner near Chase Bank)

Come rain or shine. Bring your Black Lives Matter signs. We’ll be practicing social distancing, so bring a mask if you have one. Any questions, please contact Zoe at communityoutreach@hazelwolfk8.org  

Hazel Wolf K-8 PTSA Statement on Racial Inequities and Injustice

The deaths of George Floyd and too many others weigh heavily on all of us, including the PTSA at Hazel Wolf. We are also in the midst of a pandemic crisis that is also impacting our vulnerable communities disproportionately during this time. This is a time to pause, to listen, to contemplate, and – most importantly – to stand up and take action.

Generally, the work of the PTSA is not controversial: it’s about fundraising to support tutoring, playground equipment, overnight camping trips, and pancake breakfasts. We are proud at Hazel Wolf to have funded grants for art, music, PE, and engineering; to have helped with the Read-A-Thon and Back to School Nights; to have held annual auctions and restaurant nights. All of this work, which involves hundreds of hours and dozens of volunteers, is directed to enhancing the quality of life for students and teachers, as well as to providing valuable community building.

Sometimes, we are called to step up our efforts at community building in more complex ways. The Hazel Wolf PTSA last year decided that “increasing awareness of racial equity” would be our primary area of focus for the 2019-2020 school year. We publicly declared that we would focus on making decisions using a racial equity lens, by listening to students and parents of color and by offering community, staff, parent, and student education opportunities. We meant it, even as we acknowledge that the focus, if it is to be meaningful, requires stepping out of traditional comfort zones, and taking actions as well as saying words.

Last October, the students of Hazel Wolf K-8 E-STEM School in north Seattle held a peaceful protest. The students, supported by the PTSA’s Racial Equity Committee (REC), were protesting the use of the N-word and other racial slurs at school, and asking for accountability around what happens to those who use the slurs. Our principal, Ms. Nelsen, and other administrators, teachers, and staff, as well as dozens of family members and siblings, listened to and cheered for the students who spoke out. The peaceful protest lasted about 15 minutes in front of the school and received some coverage in Seattle media.

The protest and the coverage evoked a lot of emotions. There was shock that racist incidents happened at Hazel Wolf. There was dismay that the protest was mentioned in the news. For some, the students’ descriptions of racist incidents were a wakeup call. For others, it was nothing new. The recent murder of George Floyd, one in a tragic series of similar events, has brought great grief to our community. As parents and as PTSA members, we work hard for the betterment and safety of our beloved children.

Among 46-year-old George Floyd’s words while dying were a call for his deceased mother, a wrenching reminder of the bond of family that we all share. We also know he leaves behind a 6-year-old daughter who has lost her father in a public, painful way.

George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery are all names in the news these days due to racist violence—they are also folks like us with moms and dads and children. The recent protests not only here in Seattle but across the country and the world have reminded us in daunting ways of the work to be done to heal our community from the trauma of racism. As happened after our peaceful October protest, the recent deaths and reactions are shocking to some, old news to others.

We know that a PTSA cannot solve these problems. We at Hazel Wolf also know that we cannot look aside. We cannot shrug our shoulders. We will continue to do the work we have done successfully in the past: supporting the needs of our teachers and students, through the traditional and valuable events and grants. More than that, though, we will take seriously our responsibility to create equity for our black students, our immigrant students, our students of color. We will continue to support Black Lives Matter at School and Black History Month, as we have done every February. We have also offered to support professional development for our teachers (who, as is true at most schools, are predominantly white) around racial equity trainings. We will support efforts to bring in more black and other teachers of color, who are role models for all our students. We will fund our Family Support programs, which provide food and other supplies to our low-income families. We will recognize that many of our low-income families are families of color, due to the systemic and entrenched history of racism that has created tremendous disparities in health care, education, employment, and more.

The REC has created an online Community of Practice for white women to focus on anti-racism work. The REC is also offering an online Community Gathering and Healing Space for black parents and caregivers. As we learned from Erin Jones, our guest speaker at the January General Session, we have so much more in common and we must continue to make progress as a united front – with authenticity and appreciation for each other as human beings. We, as the REC and PTSA, are grateful for the way our whole school community has not just talked (though talking is important) but is also walking the difficult path toward racial justice.

Sincerely,

The Hazel Wolf K-8 PTSA Board and Racial Equity Committee