by Ryan Krzykowski

I’ve always loved history.  I love memorizing names, dates and facts.  In 10th grade, our class learned all the Presidents in order.  I remember reading about Charles Martel and Charlemagne in 11th grade World History.  As Bill and Ted reminded us many years ago, thanks to great leaders such as Genghis Khan, Joan of Arc and Socratic Method, the world of full of history.

Two weeks ago, I wrote a post in this space called “Listen”.  And that’s what I’ve been trying to do, listen to people.  Learn about them and hear their stories.  As I’ve done that, one thing has become clear — there have been some huge gaps in my knowledge of history. 

I probably missed much of it due to my own self-absorption.  If something doesn’t affect me directly, it’s often not too hard for me to tune it out.  But over the past couple weeks I’ve been reminded that things that things that may not appear to directly affect us, actually do affect us.  That there’s truth to the idea that “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26).

So I’ve been listening.  I’ve been reading.  I am embarrassed to say I knew almost nothing about Juneteenth.  Until I heard Steve Kerr talking about it on his podcast, I had never heard of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.  I wonder how I made it through school, learned just about everything required of me and yet didn’t know this stuff.  As an educator I understand that no curriculum can account for every possible topic on a given subject, but I also realize that ultimately I am responsible for what I choose to learn and know.  While I might be learning about them later than I should have, these topics and events affect us all.  As a nation we are shaped by the history we share — and by the decisions we collectively make about what history to pass on, and what to ignore or try and forget.

If we, as a people, are serious about freedom and equality, we must accept some realities that might be uncomfortable for some.  People of color in the US have a different experience than I do.  They face challenges that I have not.  And rather than accept that as “the way it is”, I will call it what it is.  It is broken.  It is wrong.  It is racism.  It is sin.  And like any sin, it must be actively opposed.  We must fight against it.

Let’s Coach With Purpose…