Statement of Solidarity

If not us, then who? If not now, then when?  - John Lewis

OregonAEYC stands in solidarity with every Black child, family, educator and the larger community. The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and many more, display the catastrophic issues of oppression and injustice for Black communities in America. We are saddened by disproportionate inequities seen throughout communities of color, and are committed to raising our voices to dismantle systemic racism, bias and oppression.  


For Black children, systemic inequity begins at a young age. Each year, at least 67,000 three to five year-old children are suspended or expelled from early childhood programs  – 250 children each day. Preschool-aged children are more than three times as likely to be suspended or expelled as K-12 students. African American children represent 18% of the preschool student population, but are 48% of children receiving multiple out-of-school suspensions or expulsions. African American children are more than 2.2 times as likely to be suspended or expelled. The disproportionate impacts of suspensions and expulsions on Black children and families in the preschool setting mirrors the overrepresentation of Black youth and adults in the criminal justice system. This is called the Preschool to Prison Pipeline. As early childhood educators, we are called to disrupt and ultimately destroy this pipeline, beginning in our own classrooms and programs.  


We are dedicated to raising awareness of the undeniable racism that still exists in our country, and will hold ourselves accountable for change. NAEYC’s We Stand Together statement provides a clear foundation as to why sustaining this work is important, “... Our goal is to nurture a more diverse and inclusive generation of young children who thrive through experience of equitable learning opportunities in early learning programs”. ORAEYC is committed to engaging in reflection, education and advocacy to confront racism. Respectively, we will actively reflect on our commitment as a High-Performing, Inclusive Organization at the forefront of all decision-making. Diverse perspectives provide uniqueness and value that raise a pillar of equity-focused, continuous growth. It is important for us to actively seek diversity within our Board, professional development offerings, public policy endeavors, and individual membership to mirror our field and elevate voices of those who have been historically marginalized.  


We will educate ourselves and others by offering, and participating in, professional development opportunities focused on anti-racism, diversity, equity, privilege and power. We recognize merit in establishing a platform for affinity groups and peer learning communities, and commit to providing opportunities for educators to engage in 
conversations that will influence self-reflection and allyship to dismantle racism and systems of oppression. As written by The National Black Child Development Institute, “the change we seek takes time”, therefore we will tirelessly advocate for communities of color by sharing our power with those who have been disenfranchised, and stand in solidarity to demand change.

If not us, then who? If not now, then when?  - John Lewis

Sincerely, 

ORAEYC Board

We encourage you to share your power:

  • Raise your voice through writing, protesting, making phone calls, or using social media

  • Register to vote -- and vote!

  • Support social justice organizations by donating time or resources

  • Hold individuals accountable for their actions

  • Implement inclusive, culturally competent, and anti-oppressive policies, practices and curriculum in your program or classroom
     

Resources to sustain conversations, particularly with children and families:

  • Facebook - White Circle
  • Twitter - White Circle
  • Instagram - White Circle