I have been busier than ever lately, which is a great problem to have, but as I was explaining to a group of school leaders this week, it’s also a sobering problem to have. Sobering because most of my work comes from supporting organisations who are embracing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the wake of the murder of George Floyd on May 25th 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
As I am going about my work, a refrain that repeats itself over and over is ‘lest we forget’. For most of us, ‘lest we forget’ has come to have meaning through commemorative war services, services honouring soldiers that have fought and died. However, the phrase, with biblical roots, is generally attributed to Rudyard Kipling’s usage in his poem ‘Recessional’.
It seems curious to have landed on this phrase, used to celebrate British imperial power and rue its demise by Kipling. Curious because I now use it with such de-colonising intent. But, the mind does strange things and perhaps, because I am an English teacher, I so often find myself with fragments of phrases echoing about the chamber of my mind with no direct realisation of the connections being made in there, the relevance to events past and present.