Thoughts After Marching for Justice
Dear Families and Students:
Since last Friday we have struggled to make sense of the death of Mr. George Floyd.
We write this note after returning from the peaceful march Wednesday night in San Mateo where thousands marched to remember Mr. Floyd, Ms. Breonna Taylor, Mr. Ahmaud Arbery and countless others before them. This event, organized in no small part by our students, allowed our community the chance to grieve and share our collective outrage at the crimes perpetrated against our African-American brothers and sisters. We were joined at this event by many District leaders including teachers, board members, administrators and other staff.
This past school year our District redoubled its efforts around equity, justice, and meeting the needs of those students who need us most. For example, the Board of Trustees identified implicit bias training to be their collective goal and directed me and District leaders to make sure that this training was part of the professional development plan for all District staff. The Board carefully considered and then approved an Equity Vision and Mission Statement to guide the work of staff and community. Staffing at our schools was also adjusted to more fully recognize differences in resources and needs of students, with an eye toward justice. And Ethnic Studies will move from being a pilot at some of our schools to a District graduation requirement. But we need to do more. Far more.
We don’t have answers as we move forward from this day to make our schools, community, our state, and our country match our ideals. However, last night we found inspiration in the collective expression of this march and its youthful leadership. There are wise people on this subject; we need to open our hearts and minds, to overcome our fear, listen and be changed.
We live in a broken, divided time. If we wish to heal and unite, we must work for justice! It is more important than ever.
SMUHSD Board Vice President
Kevin Skelly, Ph.D.