Fostering Unity, Democracy and Inclusiveness Among Children, Youth and Families: Post Election Discussion

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GSE students and faculty gathered for a post-election workshop on November 14th to discuss strategies for creating accepting, inclusive environments for students, clients and families in schools and other settings. Participants discussed what their professional roles are in relation to fostering unity, acceptance, and inclusiveness.

This workshop addressed these issues in the context of Fordham’s commitment to Cura Personalis (care for the whole person) as well as our pedagogical lens of context, experience, reflection, action and evaluation.

Students were organized into four groups: early childhood, childhood, adolescence, and adulthood and were tasked with answering four questions:

  • What is the context of your school, classroom, or other clinical placement?
  • What issues have surfaced?
  • What dialogues are taking place?
  • What strategies, activities, and lessons can be used to support students and build inclusiveness?

After an election cycle with abhorrent rhetoric, many children and adults, especially those from marginalized groups, have internalized messages of exclusion. The Southern Poverty Law Center collected over 400 incidents of hateful intimidation and harassment between November 9th and the 14th.

Emily Bazelon of The New York Times Magazine and author of “Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy” says that “Parents often ask about the impact on kids when they see celebrities or leaders treat other people badly or fail to stand up to bigotry and prejudice. There’s no way to measure the precise effect. But kids are attuned to cultural expectations. They absorb shared ideas about what behavior is permitted and what is intolerable. If the president of the United States and his top officials wave away racism and harassment, or traffic in prejudice themselves, kids are at risk of getting the message that this stuff is O.K. after all.”

Tips and takeaways from this week’s Fostering Unity workshop will be compiled and made available for professionals later this year.

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