We’ve made exceptional progress since Rock County was settled in the 1830s, yet the racism at the Beloit vs. Muskego playoff game on March 3 made it clear that its ugliness is still alive and well in our communities.
The Diversity Action Team of Rock County has worked to create progress by taking action, raising awareness and promoting positive change and inclusivity.
The DAT condemns the racist behaviors at the Beloit Memorial game. And so should we all.
Change begins with education, both in the home and at school. Sadly, there’s a nefarious movement by school boards and state legislatures across the country to alter the history books in our schools, omitting the teaching of Native and Black history, the Holocaust and more.
Atiera Coleman, Ph.D., Rock County Equity Manager, gave a speech at last year’s Stand Against Racism event in Janesville noting that it is a problem when slavery is taught as ‘Black History’ and not as American history.
By hiding history’s truths, in words at home and in our classrooms, what favors are we doing our younger generations? How does giving students only one perspective help expand their friendships beyond their high school clique, to respect fellow players and opponents at games, to adjust to college when they leave home, to respect their neighbors, to travel and live in the reality of a multicultural world when they are adults?
Dr. Coleman spoke of our county’s ongoing struggles, like the rest of the nation, with pervasive racial issues such as disparities in our education system, housing, in our courts, incarcerations, infant mortality and the list goes on. It is perpetuated with our policies and lack of representation, and a say, in our board rooms.
Change can’t happen if we have a community of well-meaning individuals who can’t identify, or even turn a blind eye, to inequities that continue to oppress people of color.
Indifferent or hateful attitudes are planted in the home. Parents must work to teach the values of truly loving one’s neighbor, respect for all, the lessons of our factual history and that hate and discrimination are wrong.
Stating that DEI -- Diversity Equity and Inclusion-- is a priority isn’t enough. Each of us has the power to truly create anti-racist social change. Speak out, consider joining DAT or learn more at www.datrockco.org. Together we can make our community a better place for all.
Board member, Diversity Action Team of Rock County