by Tracey Dann

Please note: Tracey’s post below marks the last in a series of guest bloggers that have accepted our invitation to reflect on the occurrences in Ferguson.  BVP Musings will continue to post guest bloggers with reflections around diversity throughout the year as we continue to keep the conversation moving forward.

The thing about
Ferguson is this: it is not about Ferguson.   
Ferguson is not about some tragic turn of events happening in some other
state to some other people.   It is about
all of us.  By divorcing ourselves, or
even distancing ourselves from the drama as it plays out in Ferguson, Missouri, we fail our own communities.

circumstances surrounding Ferguson are not unique. 

Before we expend
all our energy on rage and blame, we need to own the fact that the same
emotional tinderbox exploding in Ferguson sits within Rhode Island.  How do
we make certain that the next Michael Brown is not our child, or our student,
or our child’s classmate?

There is no
religion or philosophy that cures violence. 
There is no political plan that can eliminate crimes of hate.  There is no magic bullet.

But there is the
slow, layered process of learning to value one another.

Valley Prep Mayoral Academy is a community focused on college and beyond.  We believe our students and our children can
do anything.  Yet to believe someone has an
unlimited future, you must first value their present. 

Every morning a
teacher shakes my child’s hand, looks her in the eye and asks “Good
Morning.  How is your day?”  With each handshake, my child has a greater
understanding of her own value.  186 layers
of value added to her confidence every single year. 

The teachers
value my children.  I value my
child.  Valuing a child is easy.  They are cute.  It is harder to value our fellow adults.

As parents we
can attend bullying seminars.  We can
talk about diversity.  We can educate
ourselves all day long.  But first we
need to reach out our hands, look someone in the eye and say “Good
Morning.  How is your day?”   We need to support one another in the
struggle to raise our children.   We need
to laugh together because parents make the same mistakes in English and
Spanish.  Then, layer by patient layer,
we learn to value one another for who we are.

If we are to divorce ourselves from anything,
we should divorce ourselves from contingencies. 
I will value you if… you turn right leaving the ES1 parking lot.  I will value you if… you attend an FLC
meeting.  I will value you if… we are
meeting face to face, but not on Facebook. 
The value, we work so hard to earn is fragile. To keep it whole, we need
to respect one another without strings and regardless of circumstance. 

I enrolled my
children at Blackstone Valley Prep because I value a great education.  As a BVP parent, I’ve learned we cannot only
value great education.  We have to value one another.

If the individuals
involved in Ferguson, Missouri saw the value in each other’s lives their story
would have ended differently.  Their
story is our story and thankfully, we have time to rewrite our ending.  

Tracey Dann is the mother of three Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy Scholars.  Her twins are in the fourth grade at ES1 and their older brother starts at MS1 this year.  She spends her days as a student, a secretary, a short order chef and chauffer.  Tracey dreams of a better, smarter world for her three children and just a little bit of free time for herself.