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Ms. Searcy Reflects on the Importance of Toni Morrison

Categories: General Knowledge Fund / Read / Spotlight on Our Teachers

Toni Morrison, a Nobel Prize-winning author, passed away yesterday.  Morrison is known not only for her written words, but also for the wisdom she shared during interviews over the years.  Ms. Searcy, our Upper Elementary teacher, especially loved Morrison’s writing.  Speaking in the office this morning about Morrison’s death, Ms. Searcy reflected on how important Morrison was in giving a voice to lesser-heard members of our communities.

“She helped expand conversations about representation and how language is an important way to provide diverse representation.  She spoke about language’s ability to both harm and heal.  She addressed systemic injustice through her literature.  We needed her voice and we need more voices like hers.

This is why literature is so important.  Literature has a major role in giving a voice and building empathy, especially between people who are deeply-rooted in their own belief systems.  Literature allows us to imagine the perspective of someone else.  Literature allows us to imagine the voice of someone else and be empathetic with that person’s life.  It allows us to have a conversation and discourse.”

One of Ms. Searcy’s favorite quotes by the author emphasizes the need to keep speaking, to keep writing, and to keep sharing:

“This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.  This is the time for every artist in every genre to do what he or she does loudly and consistently. It doesn’t matter to me what your position is. You’ve got to keep asserting the complexity and the originality of life, and the multiplicity of it, and the facets of it. This is about being a complex human being in the world, not about finding a villain. This is no time for anything else than the best that you’ve got.”