Like so many of our friends and neighbors in this community, our hearts are heavy as we continue to process the tragedy that happened on Saturday, May 14th. The horrific act fueled by racism, white supremacy, and ingrained hate is a mark on our great city of Buffalo. This shines a light on issues that have existed for years, ones that negatively, and now, irreversibly, impact our Black and Brown neighbors.
As a place-based academic institution, Explore & More values its role in helping create a community that is full of love rather than hate. Addressing the targeted hate crime against African Americans to children may seem like a daunting task for caregivers but it is a critical one. Children may have tough questions regarding the violence, asking ‘whys’; and the answers may be more difficult still. As a caregiver, this is a vital time to have an honest discussion about race, racism, equity, and other topics that deal directly with the events that occurred in our community. This conversation should not be limited to older children and should be inclusive for all ages, as it is never too early to discuss topics of race and racism.
Teaching such a topic can be as simple as exposure to other cultures. Such an interaction is highly beneficial as exposure will allow even the youngest individual to become accustomed to people and cultures different from themselves. This can be done at our museum which has been designed with inclusion in mind, or at home with books, online resources, or even simple conversations. Understanding racism and racial biases cannot and will not be understood from a single conversation or activity. It will have to be taught over time, as your child grows.
In an attempt to assist our community in times of uncertainty and grief we are leaning into our mission which leverages the healing power of play. We have compiled various resources to help you and your family cope with mental health challenges, to communicate about racism and the tragedy as well as various ways to help our neighbors in need. We are also working on some upcoming events and initiatives to continue to help our community heal.
It is not only during this time that we must stand steadfast in the face of racism but continue to do the work each, and every day. Our resolve to do our part to eliminate racial inequality stands firmer than ever and we hope you will join us in this difficult and ongoing work.
Change begins with teaching our children to love, not hate.