I find myself in various spaces with others trying to address quality of life issues that people struggle with in the context of oppressive systems. So, this curriculum is one of those spaces. I also come to it as a survivor who's been navigating various aspects of the Greensboro Massacre since November 3rd, 1979. I was 11 years when I went to an Anti Klan demonstration with my mother and step-father.
While we were getting ready for a march and conference, we were interrupted by gunfire by Klan and Nazi members with no uniformed police officers present to deter or respond to the attack. In an instant, my mother, Signe Waller, was widowed and my stepfather, Dr. Jim Waller, was killed, along with four of our friends. More than 10 people were wounded. What happened that day has had an impact on my entire life's journey.
Within a few years, I was looking at my history books in school but I didn't see anything about the Greensboro Massacre or the Iran hostage crisis, which was a separate event in which hostages were taken the day after the Greensboro Massacre.
I obtained a BS in education and an MSW at UNCG and NC A & T and worked in those areas to try to address quality of life issues that people face. I've also come to value the role that narratives take in shaping our understanding of various life events.
It's my experience and understanding that in our schools, some narratives dominate, others are ignored or dismissed, and there is much variation in how they are expressed and received.
I grew up around several people who have educated me about quality of life issues that people struggle with and ways to address them. While my journey continues to evolve, I've gone from complete ignorance to strong awareness.
The Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission has given me a deeper understanding and appreciation of restorative justice as a preferred route to use whenever harm has been done to a community. I also appreciate being in a book discussion about "Lies My Teacher Told Me" by James W. Loewen during some of the same time period as working on this curriculum. It added some valuable perspectives while working with the Greensboro Historical Teaching Alliance on a school curriculum centered around the Greensboro Massacre.
I believe that this curriculum is relevant today. It explores a restorative justice model in the context of community which will prove meaningful and relevant to any future process of learning from and healing the Greensboro Massacre. This curriculum references a restorative justice model that people can reference in our lives as needed. This learning and healing together will allow us to create a better future for everyone.