Guest blogger: Kellee Ransom
My Why is a series of Lean Lab stakeholders who we feature as guest bloggers. They describe their "why," or inspiration, for becoming involved in social change and reform. We hope you find similar inspiration in their stories.
Black history and culture have a regular presence in my classroom. As my kids learn about the struggles of the past, they recognize it in their own present. My goal is to ensure that my kids have an unshakeable sense of self, while striving for greatness and justice throughout their life trajectories.
My kids are only in second grade, but they are acutely aware of the uphill climb they will face as they navigate the world. When Mike Brown and Eric Garner were killed, my kids saw the color of those men’s skin and knew it matched their own. We had difficult conversations about why these individuals lost their lives, and why it is so important that they work extra hard to overcome the barriers that systemic injustice has put in their way.
So my job is to empower and equip them. My job is to teach them about the incredible contributions people who look like them have made to society so that they know they, too, are capable of greatness. And most importantly, my job is to teach them about the ways members of the black community and allies have reached back and lifted up members of their community, even after they had achieved their personal goals. This is what I want my students to carry with them wherever they go – the sense that we are all connected, that our success depends on one another, and that we have a responsibility as engaged citizens to lift up the people we know from the places that make us who we are.
I continue in this big bold work because I believe with all my heart that our individual voices are powerful. When children see faces in front of them that look like their faces and are doing great things, those kids reimagine their conceptions of what is possible for their own futures.
Kellee Ransom is a second grade teacher at University Academy in Kansas City, MO.
We hope you are inspired by Kelly's "why" and continue to be at Narrative: Lean Lab's Demo Day on April 16. Utilize code WHY425 at checkout for $5 off your admission to witness the future of KC education.