My Students Will Ask About the Attack on the Capitol: I Am Ready to Listen and Talk to Them

This summer, I remember my principal informing us that we would be incorporating justice standards into our curriculum on our path to becoming an antiracist network of schools. My justice loving heart was, and still is, super stoked about it. I started this week so excited for our Colonial America unit which has been completely reimagined to be taught from the perspectives of Indigenous and African people. FINALLY! We’re teaching the babies the TRUTH about the beginnings of our nation.

Then the Capitol attack happened yesterday. As I think about my kids, mine and my students, I can’t help but think of how being an antiracist teacher isn’t enough. We need to be educator activists. The way we show up in the world is just as important as the way we show up in our classrooms. 

I feel such a huge responsibility to be objective when discussing these topics with kids. I’ve read and heard so many people saying “kids are too young for this to be discussed in classrooms” and I wholeheartedly disagree. Kids, particularly those who look like mine, do not have the privilege of being “too young” for topics like the events of today. If you’re uncomfortable with your child hearing about it, I hope you are just as uncomfortable about me having to teach and practice lockdown drills with them in their classroom. 

I also just want to note that I am truly grateful for my school network for acknowledging that this act of terror is overwhelming and….we’re tired. Thank you for giving us the day tomorrow to process our feelings and providing ourselves and school families the resources needed to unpack this event so that we can continue to show up as our best selves for our students. 

To my babies, I got y’all. Always.

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Alexandrea Martinez

Alexandrea Martinez

Alexandrea Martinez is a proud native from East San Jose where she lives with her two children, Adam Kingston and Amaya Crecencia, and their father. Due to her experience growing up in her community, Alexandrea wanted to help at-risk youth and aspired to be a probation officer after receiving her Bachelors in Criminal Justice Studies. While searching for a school to enroll her TKer in, she realized how politicized education was and sought better options than her school district provided. In 2014, she became a founding parent of Rocketship Fuerza Community Prep and a parent leader in her community, advocating for equity in education. Alexandrea received community organizing training and in October of 2014, she, along with a group of parents in her community from various schools, held the first ever parent led Mayoral candidates forum in San Jose. In 2016, she co-chaired the largest parent led candidates forum in San Jose hosting both city council and state Assembly hopefuls. Alexandrea realized the power that parents held and how working together can bring the change they need in their community. Advocating for equity in education across our state led Alexandrea to realize that her community did not need additional probation officers or lawyers but rather more invested, dedicated teachers. Alexandrea decided to change her career and became a teacher to do her part in eliminating the achievement gap and ending the school to prison pipeline. Alexandrea continues to advocate for equity in education in her community and proudly tells anyone who will listen that the next generation of leaders are in her East San Jose classroom.

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