A Message From NAEYC: We Stand Together
Our hearts are heavy this week with the images of George Floyd being suffocated in police custody. On the heels of the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Corey Jones, Oscar Grant, Botham Jean, Sandra Bland and more, we need to look no further than our own communities to find current examples that build upon more than 400 years of injustice for black people in America. We see this in the striking, gaping disparities in how police and policymakers have responded to protests throughout the past month and the disproportionate sickness and death African-American, Latinx and Native American communities are experiencing from this pandemic.
While we all grieve, we want to speak directly to those of you in our NAEYC family who root your identities in communities of color. Today, like too many other days, the trauma black, brown and multiracial families and children are experiencing is a national crisis that requires action. As an organization, NAEYC sees your pain, and stands with you in grief. We condemn the generations of injustice along with the structural bias that causes disparities in outcomes based on where you live. We also want to speak directly to those of you who identify as an ally, and support you in recognizing personal implicit and explicit biases, and talking about, confronting, and responding to racism in our homes, neighborhoods, communities and schools.
NAEYC’s core values uphold the dignity and worth of each individual. As we identify in our Advancing Equity in Early Childhood Education position statement, our goal is to nurture a more diverse and inclusive generation of young children who thrive through their experience of equitable learning opportunities in early learning programs. We aim for each child to “express comfort and joy with human diversity; to increasingly recognize injustice; and to have the will and the skills to act against prejudice.” We find ourselves pressing for the same for each adult in our nation today.
Our goals cannot be achieved without recognizing and dismantling the systems of bias that provide privilege to some and are unjust to others. That means committing —individually and collectively, again and again—to reflect and grapple with the racism in ourselves, our organizations, and our society. NAEYC continues to work towards advancing equity with humility and awareness of our history and limitations, and a recognition that no individual, leader or organization has all the answers. At the same time, we each have a role to play—as early childhood educators, administrators, faculty, students, advocates, and parents. We are each in a position where we can act and address the trauma our children are experiencing at the hands of racism apparent in the coronavirus’ disproportionate impacts, the police response to protests, the weaponizing of white privilege in our parks and streets, and the death of George Floyd.
On behalf of our entire organization, we commit to standing with you and relentlessly working together to create communities where each and every child, family and educator can thrive.
Ann McClain Terrell, Incoming President
Rhian Evans Allvin, Chief Executive Officer
Ann McClain Terrell has 45 years of professional experience in the field of education, primarily in early childhood education and is president-elect of the NAEYC Board. She is an adjunct early childhood education professor for Concordia University after serving as the executive director of the Milwaukee Public Schools Foundation, Inc., and an administrator in the Milwaukee Public Schools district, leading the departments of Innovation and Early Childhood Education. Additionally, Ann mentors emerging early childhood leaders.
Rhian Evans Allvin is the chief executive officer of NAEYC. She is responsible for guiding the strategic direction of the organization as well as overseeing daily operations. Before joining NAEYC, Evans Allvin was a guiding force in Arizona’s early childhood movement for more than 15 years, including serving as CEO of Arizona's First Things First.