For many of us, the past few weeks have been very difficult. We observed the murder of Ahmaud Arbery and the murder of George Floyd. We observed Amy Cooper use Christian Cooper’s race against him as a threat to his safety while bird watching. We also observed Omar Jimenez get arrested while reporting in Minneapolis. Race and racism are the common denominators.
Although a difficult week for many of us, imagine the lives of individuals who face racism on a daily basis. Imagine the lives of individuals who carry with them the stories of mistreatment passed down from generations. Imagine how much we missed before everyone had cell phones. Imagine how much we still miss when a camera is not around. Imagine how much we miss when a pandemic does not force us to be at home with time to pay attention. Imagine how much we miss that is not as brutal or obvious, but still hurtful and becomes a burning memory to a community of people.
Just as we cannot pretend that these injustices do not exist, we cannot pretend that we fully understand.
So, what are we to do?
- First: believe and communicate that racism exists and is wrong in any shape or form.
- Second: Lean in, listen, and work to understand others, especially those who hold experiences different from ours.
- Third: learn. Every aspect of our society, both good and bad, is a direct result of our history. How well do we understand the perpetuation of racism throughout our history? How well do we understand the lived experiences of those different from us? What unintentional role might we play in the perpetuation of racism in our country? How skilled are we at talking about racism?
As an institution of learning, we are committed to our own learning to ensure that our system is creating a safe place for each student and adult. Please see the attached equity brochure that highlights some of our work this year in creating an identity-safe learning and working environment. We recognize that this work is never ending and ever changing. We are committed to eliminating bias, racism, and inequities from our system.
We encourage you to make this a learning opportunity for you and your family. Below are some resources to help.
- A Video: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The Danger of a Single Story : The story of how a writer found her authentic cultural voice—and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.
- National Geographic– Talking to Kids About Race
- Beyond the Golden Rule: A Parent’s Guide to Preventing and Responding to Prejudice
- A Parent Toolkit
- Book: Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America. Ibram X. Kendi. This book reveals the history of racist ideas in America and inspires hope for an antiracist future.
- Book: How to Be an Antiracist. Ibram X. Kendi. This book will help readers see all forms of racism clearly, understand its poisonous consequences, and work to oppose them in our systems and in ourselves.
We ask our community to join us in this important work.
Dan Curry, Superintendent
Sandy Walker, Supervisor of Equity and School Improvement