Engaging Schools joins those standing collectively against racism. We are horrified by the recent deaths of Rayshard Brooks, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor — the latest public atrocities in the more than 400-year history of continuous oppression faced by African Americans. We know that racism is systemic, built into our institutions, and woven deeply into our consciousness. It is pervasive and often insidious. We’re seeing its effects in the disproportional impact that the Coronavirus pandemic is having on Black and Brown people.

We support efforts to dismantle racism and commit to work together for systemic change. We recognize that people of color often feel alone in the fight for racial justice. It is essential that White people explore conscious and unconscious biases, what White privilege consists of, and how to be an ally to those who are part of groups that have less power. We also believe it will take collective responsibility and action throughout our society, and changes in our policies and institutions, including in our schools, to shape a just and equitable society.

We at Engaging Schools commit to listen and learn, reflect on our own practices, engage in dialogue across differences, and educate ourselves to be better allies and agents for change. We will push ourselves to identify, counter, and interrupt bias and racial prejudices and tackle institutional racism. We feel the urgency to make changes now, and also know that this is a lifelong journey.

Engaging Schools remains steadfast in the work of transformative and systemic change required to create equitable school communities. We collaborate with educators to identify and eliminate the biases and barriers to students’ healthy development and academic achievement; create equal access to high quality educational experiences; and close opportunity and achievement gaps. We strive to create safe, welcoming, and respectful schools where the conditions are in place for young people and adults to have tough conversations and take action to make meaningful changes. We aim for schools in which every young person feels like they belong, can express themselves, and will thrive.

Moving forward, we will create learning opportunities, facilitate dialogue, ask hard questions, engage in challenging conversations, advocate for equality, and speak out against racism and injustice as we work for racial equity and educational equity in our schools.

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