George Floyd: Structural Racism Claims Another Life
Dear colleagues and friends,
When a particular event reminds our nation of the reality of racial injustice and violence, leaders and organizations issue statements of condemnation and a reaffirmation of our values. I am heartened by reading fervent messages of support for social justice from schools, districts, and other partners across our state and nation. As you navigate this already complicated time in our history, thank you for your continued leadership on behalf of our children, families, and communities that we all serve.
This statement affirms SERC’s role in this community. Not only that: Racial justice is central to who we are, and addressing structural racism hits to the heart of what we do. We have intentionally addressed race in our work for more than 15 years, creating a blueprint and reports on race-conscious educational equity, holding annual conferences on “Dismantling Systemic Racism,” and building the capacity of our staff to support educators in their own work on race as well as navigate a personal and often agonizing journey of self-discovery. But even beyond SERC, the killing of George Floyd is deeply and profoundly personal. I fear this. I live this. George Floyd could have been my husband, my son, my grandson, my brother, my neighbor.
In our virtual meeting with all SERC staff, I shared the range of emotions and pain I am going through in the wake of this distressingly familiar incident of hate and blatant racist actions that have exploded in demonstrations. I was reminded about the importance of harnessing the power of WE. WE need one another now more than ever to combat racism, injustice, bigotry, and hate. WE can never, as an anti-racist community, stand by as men of color gasp for air and call for their mothers until they are forever silenced. WE cannot stand by and witness our communities of color still held down by the legacy of systemic oppression. WE know that our children deserve better; WE know that our families deserve better; WE know that our communities deserve better.
As an organization, SERC will continue developing a culture of learning and growth around structural racism and its implications for student learning and success. This work embodies our vision of Equity, Excellence, and Education. You are a partner in that vision and will always be a part of our WE. Please join us as WE navigate difficult conversations and undertake courageous actions in your own communities. Together, WE will commit ourselves to real, lasting change so that our children can look back on this season of pain and remember us as heroes who did something about it.
Ingrid M. Canady, Executive Director
State Education Resource Center
Photos courtesy Munshots and Library of Congress