Educurious stands with the Black community and condemns the murder of George Floyd as well as the murders of all who have come before—named and unnamed. Black lives matter. Over the last two weeks, I have been talking to my team, reading, and listening to the heartfelt and painful responses to the murder of George Floyd and the protests that have followed. The following response by Amanda Misiko Andere, CEO of Funders Together to End Homelessness, particularly struck me:
“As imperfect and problematic as their words might be, I needed them [the white community] to speak out: to speak out to other white people, to honor that the work of being anti-racist is to sit and listen without defense or fragility to people of color with lived expertise, to study and understand the racialized history of our country. Then when the time is right, to consistently and persistently speak and act loudly and boldly and be more than an ally but a co-conspirator for our shared liberation.”
The time is more than right, it is long overdue. As a white woman and educational leader, I understand how important it is for me to talk about race. It isn’t comfortable. We might believe that leading by example, with kindness and compassion, is enough. It has not been enough. Individually, and together, we must unpack and understand our white privilege. The history of our country is filled with racial violence that prevents our nation from being truly unified. There’s never been a time in American history that Black lives have been safe from state violence. I and we must do our own work to powerfully show up in the world as anti-racists. Without learning our history and talking about it honestly we are ill-equipped to confront racism. Silence is complicity. Through personal reflection and dialogue with my team I know we need to do more. But knowing is not enough. We need to commit to action. Below are our commitments.
- Name the issue: We will speak deliberately and unapologetically to the systemic racism deeply rooted in all aspects of society that keep Black and Brown young people furthest from educational justice. We will acknowledge and illuminate how educational institutions create barriers and prevent equal access to opportunity. Children are disproportionately affected by this reality in schools. Without this acknowledgment, we are contributing to the root causes of racism.
- Focus on root causes: We will work to support our school and district partners in eliminating the institutional, social, and political barriers that systemically and disproportionately prohibit Black and Brown young people from learning and thriving.
- Disaggregate data: We will interrogate our biases and the data that illuminates inequities across racial groups, within our organization and with colleagues and partners. We will act on this data.
- Hold ourselves accountable: We will hold ourselves accountable for ensuring that the project-based curricula we provide and the instructional practices we teach are grounded in principles of equity. We will become a more racially diverse organization and work harder than ever to change the policies, practices, and norms in education which contribute to disproportionality and lead to American society’s inability to confront racism in our schools, communities, and workplaces.
Lastly, I would like to thank the many colleagues and friends who have advised me in this work. Thank you for being my teachers.
Justice must come to the police officers responsible for the murder of George Floyd. However, full and complete justice will come only when we identify, address, and repair the systemic racism inherent in our education systems – especially for young people who are Black or Brown. We are eager to do this work with our colleagues across the nation. We will be looking inward and reaching out. We hope you will too.
With renewed Commitment and Solidarity,