Taking Steps Towards an Anti-Racist Future Through Heart-Mind Well-Being

Recent highly publicised police killings of black and Indigenous people, the response of the Black Lives Matter movement, and the resulting global protests against racism and police brutality are defining a moment in our collective history – this moment.

As parents and educators navigating the evolving landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic, this moment may be a particularly difficult one. For many, resources (both emotional and material) are at an all-time low, and stress at an unprecedented high. Uncertainty abounds in all directions. Yet, we want to feel like we are moving towards something better – that after the pandemic is over our children will be healthy and well-adjusted; our families will be intact; our jobs will still be there; and our economy will eventually recover. 

Anti-racism offers another powerful hope (imperative) for this moment: that, in the not-so-distant future, our communities will no longer be divided along racial lines of power and privilege.

Nurturing Heart-Mind well-being, which teaches us to use our hearts and minds as tools for peace, compassion, and action in the face of violence and injustice, is a first step towards this vision.

In this week’s Heart-Mind Online resource, Alert & Engaged is discussed as a window through which we can connect to the urgent social and environmental issues of our time. This resource offers suggestions for using Alert & Engaged as the foundation of an anti-racist education for ourselves and our children.

But what comes next? Once we open our hearts and minds to what is happening around us, we need to turn to the mirror of Compassionate & Kind in order to see ourselves as a vital part of the bigger picture.

Compassion is what motivates us to help those who are suffering and lean on each other in times of stress. Compassion is what allows us to have caring relationships and feel connected despite our deep personal and collective pain. 

The metaphor of compassion as a mirror is both intentional and important. An integral component of anti-racism is becoming aware of one’s implicit biases and inadvertent complicity in systemic racism. When we view these aspects of self through the mirror of compassion, we are able to hold our heavy hearts with kindness while channeling our fury into anti-racist activism and allyship.

Heart-Mind Online offers many action-oriented resources for polishing the mirror of compassion within ourselves and our children, such as Connecting to Compassion, Teaching Compassion Starts with You, Heart-Mind Valentines for Compassionate Love, and Does Kindness Equal Compassion?

These resources promote developing emotional awareness; teaching and modelling empathy, kindness, forgiveness, and self-compassion; and providing opportunities for practicing compassion, which are all key pathways to nurturing compassion in young people of all ages.

Alert & Engaged and Compassionate & Kind are two important tools for anti-racism, among many. Seeking out and listening to Black and Indigenous leaders is imperative to using these tools in meaningful, effective, and truly just ways.


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