Serving children of all races, backgrounds, upbringings and histories, KOOP adamently stands up, stands with and supports the rights of BIPOC children (and adults).
Right now, the focus of the world is on creating real change to end systemic police brutality against the black and brown communities. With far too many examples nationally and locally, I want to say clearly: KOOP is built on the principles of playwork which seeks to provide play for all, regardless of race or any other factor while acknowledging and dismantling barriers that prevent children and communities from being able to access play. And sometimes this work involves confronting racism in all its forms. We will stand up for all BIPOC people and children at every opportunity. Playwork is a reflective profession and requires playworkers to unpack and dissect their actions, presumptions, biases and experiences and that work will continue in our staff teams to ensure that our programs and offerings are safe and supportive for every child.
I also want to say, as a white woman, that this struggle is not one I can possibly fully understand and I promise to not participate in empty virtue signaling-- not for myself and not for the organization I lead or the children and community I serve. I'm listening, I'm learning (and unlearning the whitewashed history handed to me), I'm advocating, challenging and speaking to white people around me and I'm following the lead of people of color who are telling us where to march, where to protest, where to donate and how to direct allyship. I also understand that with such a long history in this country, this will not be a short-lived effort. My allyship didn't begin with the events in Minneapolis or Louisville or Georgia or Urbana, and I will continue to stand up for the rights of all children, guarding against racism and helping our children and our community to process and play through the trauma induced from racial injustice and police brutality. All these topics come up during play and we will be ready to support children through all of it as soon as we're allowed to start offering programming again.
If there is anything more you'd like to see or hear from KOOP on this subject, please email Kelsey@KOOPadventureplay.org and I'll welcome the conversation.