The Weekend Voice took a bit of much-needed time off last weekend. And it turned out to be quite a weekend.
I was still processing the Supreme Court decisions and what they means to educators when I heard about the shooting in Highland Park, Illinois. At the time, I had not known that the area had a high percentage of Jewish residents and that the alleged gunman (who has confessed) went to a synagogue there. The head of security and the rabbi recognized him as a stranger, and he attended the service and left afterward.
We've been hearing about mass shootings almost every week. No sooner do we recognize and process the horror, but we hear about another.
The photo of a small toddler who was found wandering without his parents was the hardest for me after the Highland Park slaughter. It turns out that his parents were both killed on July 4th. The child was identified and is in the care of extended family. About a month ago, in Uvalde, a teacher was killed, and her husband, a police officer, had gone to place flowers at her memorial. He had a heart attack after that and died. Their four children were orphans.
It feels as though there are no safe places, not schools or workplaces, not churches or synagogues, not grocery stores, movie theaters, shopping malls, nightclubs, or baseball fields. Many years ago, there was a belief that gun violence only took place in "bad" neighborhoods.
That is clearly no longer the case. Gun violence can happen at any place and at any time. And the impact of this violence with mass shootings is no longer restricted to a single neighborhood - it can affect entire communities, including school communities.
The good news is that Congress passed a bill on gun reform, which President Biden signed into law. It is the most significant legislation on gun reform, yet critics say it doesn't go far enough.
Almost all those who perpetrated the violence have in common that they were all young men, aged between 17 or 18 and 25 or 26. And they all used automatic rifles, which, in most cases, they obtained legally.
Not only are those directly affected by gun violence victims, but each time someone who was traumatized by gun violence reads about the most recent shooting, they are traumatized all over again. Many have some form of PTSD from this.
We need more mental health support and community support because we're looking at a societal problem, not one that belongs to a specific community or a "bad" neighborhood.
I hope you have had a chance to process all the events of the last couple of weeks. It's been a lot. I hope you'll have the opportunity to decompress and enjoy your summer.
My guest on this week's Livestream was Dr. Jerod Phillips. Our conversation centered around recruiting a diverse school staff. Give the Livestream a watch, and don't forget to subscribe to the channel when you get a chance. I think you'll learn from it, as I did.
By the way, are you interested in being a guest on the Art of Advocacy Show? Fill out this application form, and I will get back to you shortly. I'm currently scheduling the Fall lineup.
As many of us are transitioning into new roles and we are beginning to look at what next school year looks like for professional development, I'd like to invite you to collaborate with the Leading Equity Center to further your efforts. Book a free 30-minute consultation with me, and let's chat!
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P.S. Are you an educator in Illinois? I'm coming to you! Check out this upcoming training happening in August!
"Countless educators are writing about equity inclusive of what it is and what it is not. In Leading Equity, Dr. Eakins has gone beyond theory."
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