March 13, 2018 (BOSTON) — Earlier today, Medium.com published an article by Jumpstart President & CEO Naila Bolus discussing our organization’s decision to not participate in celebrations of Dr. Seuss’s birthday this year. As an organization that recognizes the power of books and their necessity for encouraging early literacy, we are also cognizant of how issues are presented in books — intentionally or unintentionally — and the impact they can make on young readers.
Our biggest concern was that by partaking in an event that is a blanket celebration of Dr. Seuss, we would not have the opportunity to have nuanced conversations about the harmful stereotypes and images contained in some of his works. Without such dialogue, our participation felt like an implicit endorsement of all of his work, including that which is racist. And that endorsement would fly in the face of our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.