Dear colleagues and partners,
The past weeks have again highlighted social injustices in our society. We stand in solidarity with our communities of color, vulnerable youth and marginalized populations. We mourn the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless others who have died unjustly because of systemic and institutionalized racism, implicit bias and prejudice.
For more than 30 years, the Center for Schools and Communities has worked to raise awareness of the need for equitable access to education and community systems where all students and families feel safe, valued and respected. Our staff is in positions of power, representing institutions of power; and fighting alongside and on behalf of vulnerable populations to dismantle inequities, disparities and discrimination. And there is still work to be done.
The Center remains committed to lead and support programs and initiatives to address systemic discrimination and injustice. We’ve been working to coordinate a focused effort to strengthen our own commitment to enacting socially-just practices, right now and far into the future. In upcoming weeks and months, we will intentionally address issues of inequity and injustice in expanded and continued ways, including:
- Discussion forums for those interested in listening and learning about our own or others’ experiences with injustice, racism and white privilege; and finding ways to change the systems and advance equity and justice
- Social justice training and professional development series focused on advancing equitable practices in education to explore and identify ways we can facilitate change
- Sharing online and print resources that promote equity
- Supporting leaders of color and use all our available platforms and events to lift up their voices and share their stories
We are not going to be silent. We recognize that some of us have years of experience and formal training in social justice education and community advocacy; and some of us have begun engaging in the work more recently and/or more informally. For all of us, antiracism and allyship are ongoing processes of learning, unlearning and working toward a practice of humbled solidarity.
We will foster stronger and more empathetic partnerships as we listen to each other, encourage each other, and hold each other accountable. We will rise up and speak out against oppression, injustice and inequity in all of its manifestations, and model the way for others.
To our Black and Brown colleagues, partners, educators, children and youth, families and communities: We see you. We hear you. We care about you. Your lives matter. We stand with you in this fight for social justice and will continue to advocate and be a voice for equity, justice and hope in our organization, state and nation.
Shileste Overton Morris, Ed.D., Director
Center for Schools and Communities