Billboard reading, "A Better World Is Possible"

Possibility for Belonging: February 2023 Newsletter


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Dear AmazeWorks community,

We hoped for our February newsletter to center celebration and hope as we shared our 2022 Annual Report, highlighting the impact of our work thanks to our incredible community of support. This simply doesn’t feel right in light of the grief and trauma that have already overwhelmed 2023. We are mourning lost lives due to police and gun violence, like Tyre Nichols, Tortuguita, the victims of the Monterey Park shooting on Lunar New Year, and so many more.

For 2023, AmazeWorks made “possibility” our word of the year. In our last newsletter, we asked you: 

What do we need to focus on in 2023 so that our wildest dreams seem possible?
What if, this year, we see less injustice than ever before?
What if the AmazeWorks mission – to champion equity and belonging for all – could be alive in every school, workplace, community, and home?

We decided to hone in on possibility, not to set unrealistic expectations for the course of the year, but because we have witnessed cultural change in action because of investment in belonging. Belonging makes it possible to live in a world where we see the dignity in every human being. Belonging makes it possible for every person to show up without hiding parts of who they are. When we notice, name, and reject our biases and commit to difficult and brave conversations, we invest in healing and transformative change. 

In this newsletter, we share resources inviting us to consider our racial identities in how we process and talk about highly visible tragedies. We also share our 2022 Annual Report, fueling our belief in the possibility for belonging for all, further brought to life through connection and community relationships. In order to fight for safety and healing, we need to believe and invest in belonging.

Featured Books

Book cover for "Something Happened In Our Town," featuring a White child and a Black child standing back to back on top of a newspaper
Something Happened In Our Town
written by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard and illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin

Two families, one White and one Black, talk about and process a police shooting of a Black man in their community. This book provides an opportunity to talk frankly with younger children about police violence against Black/African Americans. As Memphis protesters continue to call for justice for Tyre Nichols and Black victims of police violence, it is important for families of ALL racial identities to have conversations about race and policing. 

In this book, Menakem examines the racial trauma that lives in all of our bodies and our institutions, such as policing. Recognizing that the first step of dismantling white supremacy is addressing its presence within our own bodies, Menakem disperses body practices throughout the book to guide readers through racial healing. As we mourn the death of Tyre Nichols and reflect on the relationship between racism and policing, this book can help us incorporate somatic healing practices into our daily lives, taking into account our community roles and racial identities.
book cover for "My Grandmother's Hands," featuring an abstract photo of a human looking longingly, surrounded by purples, blues, and reds.

Featured Lesson

Middle School Lesson: Kids on Race; picturing a graphic of a teacher stnading on a stack of two gigantic books

This AmazeWorks lesson for 6th graders helps kids develop respect across differences and notice, name, and reject racial bias. Students will watch a video in which a racially diverse group of students discuss personal experiences with racism and bias. This is a good lesson to connect stereotypes with microaggressions, as some of the students in the videos give clear examples of microaggressions they’ve experienced. 

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