The complexities of celebrating one-day or month-long holidays

Article written by Allie Blocksom Precht and Clauda López – members of the Diversity & Community Engagement Committee (D+CE) and expresses their views. At TNSM, we are grateful to have this D+CE forum that allows opportunities for members of our community to share their own beliefs, always with the goal of  expanding our understanding of each other’s experiences and points of view.

The Diversity & Community Engagement committee members have engaged in vulnerable and open conversations around a number of topics from world events, legislation being formed in our very own state that could impact our families and children, and personal situations that we encounter and which we have to navigate appropriately, sometimes without knowing how.

Claudia & Allie had a separate discussion around the complex and sometimes conflicting feelings that come along with celebrating some of our society’s holidays that take place on a day or for a month throughout the year.

Claudia: So, we’re in the midst of Women’s History Month and we just celebrated International Women’s Day, and I’m becoming aware of some resistance, which is hard for me to acknowledge, well, because I am a woman. I’ve noticed my lack of enthusiasm when I get messages with a flower and some congratulatory text on March 8th, for example. My work and my life are founded in connection and integration and I feel this is missing when we choose ONE day or ONE month to celebrate something and then go back to business as usual. Our committee discussion around the legislation in Texas a couple of weeks ago made me want to write about that as an issue of equity, with the elements of connection and integration that are important to me. Women have been oppressed throughout history the same way as humans whose identity might not conform to what has been considered as the norm.

Allie: I totally agree, Claudia. I waver between truly enjoying reading the articles and posts I see on social media educating me about influential women and the progress that has been made toward gender equity over the centuries and feeling like this is a “check-the-box” holiday to appease a specific group of people.

Claudia: Exactly. I guess these holidays and these posts and all this talk about issues —even if in a compartmentalized way—it’s all necessary for now. I sometimes see it as a necessary bridge. It’s like a pendulum that has swung too far and it’s necessary for movement in the opposite direction for more stability, balance, and flow, which are qualities of integration and connection.

Allie: And this would apply to so many other groups…from Black History Month to Hispanic Heritage & Asian Pacific Islanders Months. But selfishly, when these months roll around and there is this hyper focus on being a part of the movement and conversation and companies/brands/content creators are lending their voice and putting out education content or highlighting a lesser known area–it spotlights things that I likely wouldn’t have stumbled upon otherwise. So, I appreciate that!

Claudia: It amazes me. This to me evidences the nature of this country, a tapestry of cultures and traditions. In Colombia, where I was born, being Colombian is more cohesive. Here, the concept of being American is more exclusive. It’s like “you’re 100% American” if you look this way, behave this way, have this lifestyle. Otherwise, there’s a holiday for you.

Allie: And so many of these areas intersect too, right? Like women’s equality is one thing but what about African American women or Trans women?

Claudia: We’ve come to a point in history when we’re really being nudged as a species to acknowledge differentiation and then link the parts of the system. I have learned this from neurobiology with Dr. Daniel Siegel. Talking about people in terms of labels dissolves individuality. We start seeing people as a phenomenon, tendency, statistic. Instead, when we really get curious about the individual—with all the complexity and beauty of their identity—we’re truly opening up to a relationship that can change us both, in other words, we link. In fact, when we open up, I feel things happen almost by themselves. I don’t need to make a huge effort to link, it’s more like we allow the link to happen.

Does your family observe a tradition or cultural holiday that you’d like to share with the TNSM community? Do you have a passion for or expertise in a certain area of DEI? The D&CE committee is always looking for books, resources, and classroom speakers to help deepen the cultural competency of our school community. Please reach out to us via email diversity@.

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