“LISTEN – LEARN – LOVE ONE ANOTHER” is the message posted on the sign board at the One America Building downtown. Days after the peaceful protests, rioting and looting in downtown Indy, I needed to listen and learn. I was angry, and sad like everybody else so I invited Dr. Amrita Myers to the First Day. She’s a Ruth N. Halls Associate Professor of History & Gender Studies at IU Bloomington where she teaches African American History, Slavery, Black Lives Matter, especially issues of race and gender.
Dr. Myers spent one hour with us helping me to understand the definition of “white privilege” and the difference between “systemic” and “institutional” racism. The age we begin to start forming opinions about others because of their skin color and why racism is such a hard topic for people to discuss. And what changes need to happen.
Does Dr. Myers have hope? “I have a lot of hope! I see it every day in my classroom…Students who give me hope every day for the future, from all backgrounds. That’s why I do what I do, I believe education is a huge indicator and an incredible way of changing what we see in this country. That’s why I became a teacher. My students are of all backgrounds and they tell me again and again that they are no longer willing to play by the same rules. The playbook that the system has been using for centuries is no longer working. Young people are also saying that there’s a huge generation gap. They say they no longer agree with their parents and I’m going out and marching. I believe in them.”