Regarding Celebrations

You may notice the beautiful bulletin board in the hallway, celebrating the Ramadan holiday.  It’s part of a year-long effort to represent and celebrate the various cultures of our Seed families.  Prior to the Ramadan display being installed, I was asked to review the content of the material that was going to be used, to make sure it was appropriate.  I looked it over and it seemed fine to me, yet I recognized within myself that I really knew very little about the holiday.  I made a decision to take the time to contact one of our Seed families who celebrate Ramadan.  It was one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long time. 

When I reached out to the family, I received an enthusiastic response.  What followed was a meaningful phone conversation with the mom, Nafeesa, that clarified specific details of the display, particularly around food items their family eats during Ramadan, which were different from those on the graphic we were going to use.  More than the content of the bulletin board, what I took away from the process was a sense of respect and genuine honoring of each other. I felt comfortable asking questions, and I had the sense that Nafeesa felt heard and appreciated for being included in the process.  The whole experience reminded me of our mission of inclusion and celebration of diversity, and the power of every conversation.  When we make these refinements to our practices, it elevates the entire operation.  I am grateful to Nafeesa and her family and all they bring to me personally, and to our Seed community.   

On another note of inclusion, I wanted to bring to your attention an upcoming shift we have made in our calendar.  This year, to be consistent with having the school open on most religious holidays (with the exception of Christmas, which is part of our winter break), we will be open on Good Friday.  In turn, we will be closed on Monday, April 1, in honor of  Cesar Chavez Day, which was designated as a commemorative federal holiday in 2014, a state holiday in some states, and is an official holiday for the City of Phoenix.  

Cesar Chavez, who lived in Yuma, Arizona, was the founder of the National Farm Workers Association in 1962.  As a child, he and his family were migrant workers along the coast of California, who were victims of  poverty and racism.  After serving two years in the Navy, he became involved in workers rights, as he learned about Gandhi’s approach to making change through nonviolence.  His work as an  activist significantly altered the lives of migrant and farm workers throughout the country.  

Our decision to honor Cesar Chavez, who has strong ties to Arizona, is in alignment with our Seed mission:  “Awakening Seed is an innovative, compassionate learning community that inspires global citizens by fostering curiosity, celebrating uniqueness, and promoting social justice.”  We look forward to learning more about his life with our students as one more example of how a single person’s dedication to social justice can change the world.   

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