June 1, 2020
Staff and Community,
It is with a heavy heart that I watch and respond to the news happening across our country; the news of the death of George Floyd and the news of protest leads me to want to propel change that will help to lead to an end to racially-motivated violence. As a school leader, there is no room to remain silent in this time of unrest; especially given the impact on our community. To ignore what is happening in the world would be to ignore what impacts our students, families and each of us; directly and indirectly.
This is not a message that should have to be sent in 2020.
What we are seeing is not just a reaction to the incident of George Floyd’s death--it is a long-standing reality of our communities of color. The injustice that we have felt is not isolated to this one documented situation--it is what our scholars and families of color face daily and we must stand in support of our scholars and families.
For those who do not face this reality every time we walk out of our doors, the time available now to sit and really pay attention to what is happening is causing some to feel convicted to speak out in a way they haven’t before. It is important that those who are feeling compelled to support do so in a way that does not further traumatize our colleagues and families of color, or disrespect the history of experiences they have in this country. The incidents are not new; some people’s outrage is. Now is the time to educate yourselves and begin to truly do the work of becoming anti-racist. How can you truly become an ally?
During shelter in place, we have often felt powerless, and now, we see our community continuing to be a target of feeling powerless and at the receiving end of an act of racism---because we must name it for what it is; an act of racism towards people of color. Throughout these tumultuous times, we may struggle to find ways to support our community, so I offer the following suggestions: I implore you to stand with scholars, families, and colleagues by posting messages of support whether in our home windows due to shelter in place, or other visible messages of support, participating in peaceful protests, making donations when able to, and continuing to stand with our families and scholars.
This is one of those times where the adults in the room have no answers. How many times have we witnessed state-sanctioned assaults, targeting, and killings? We look to local and national leaders and hear articulated messages and see uprisings and nothing changes. What are we supposed to tell kids? Well, aside from knowing how to “be” when out in the world, we have to make sure we are not afraid to interrupt injustice when we see it. This isn’t to suggest that you put yourselves in harm’s way, but it is saying that publicly knowing and naming a thing is important. Racism is systemic and enacted by people with power, both real and perceived. As educators, you hold power. Call it out. Coded language is real. Learn to recognize and question it, because the laws that govern us are written before they’re enforced. Participate in round tables and workshops that are led by people directly impacted by unjust policing. Let’s stand with our families, scholars and community.
In service of our students, families and community,