I don’t often use this group email as a soapbox for myself, but I’d like to start with a morale check-in, since I’m sure I’m not the only one sometimes overwhelmed by the pace of things (elementary school boundaries, for one), and it’s hard to remember that the changes we seek are part of a slow process. There is no immediate fix. No single change will make everything better. These are long-lived, complicated issues, and it will take time and patience and persistence to make a difference.
I think the bottom line is that the School Board won’t do anything radical without a groundswell of support from parents. The kind of upheaval that intentional integration would have will make many parents upset and needs to have grassroots support. That’s what our group can make happen, by encouraging people to speak up, empowering those who feel the way we do, encouraging others to join us, showing that we are a coalition with accountability and diverse perspectives and views, and the willingness to make choices in our own families that express our values. The more people who speak up on this goal, the more likely it will be politically possible to act on.
Which is also why the county-wide approach I mentioned last week makes sense — it refuses to pit planning units and schools and neighborhoods against each other — it focuses on giving families equal access to information and opportunity for their children to succeed, to support the right for each family to make the best choices they can for their children when it comes to what kind of school environment and support they need. I think everyone can get behind that. And then, we work to make sure that families with less privilege, less mobility, less wealth, have the same access to quality education no matter where they live in our community, no matter who they know, no matter what language they speak, no matter what their income might be.
The boundary process is happening fast and while I definitely want our voices to be raised each time we have the opportunity, we also need to take the long view about change. This boundary process is not going to fix segregation in our County. I would love for improvements to happen, and they might, but it’s not going to solve the problem. That’s going to take longer. It’s going to take conversations over time, changing the culture in our County so more people consider the common good more often and more people are informed about the realities facing many of our families. We have to keep putting one foot in front of the other, keep showing that there is growing support for equity measures, even when those measures require some sacrifice (or perceived sacrifice) to improve things for all of our students.
*stepping off my soapbox*
I found out a little more about how the County schools calendar can be changed (regarding Columbus Day). School Board policy would need to identify that day differently from the federal government holiday list. I’ll try to find out more about what a change like that would require. I don’t know what it will take to get some traction at the County level, but if anyone knows or wants to find out, let me know!
We’ll plan to do the movie screening of “The Uncomfortable Truth” after Election Day. I’ll keep you posted about our plans for that.
One of our group members let me know about a workshop series called “None of us is free until all of us are free” by Jews United for Justice (JUFJ). The first one is October 25 and the details are here.
I sent out an email to all PTA Presidents last week from the County PTA about our grant fund and setting up meetings with each PTA Executive Board to learn about each school’s resources and needs. I haven’t received many responses yet, so if you’re involved in your school’s PTA, please feel free to ask about participation in these meetings (and in donating/applying to the grant fund — the fall application deadline is November 26). I’ll also be presenting about this at our October 22 County PTA meeting.
VOICE has been sending out issue briefs that are a wonderful snapshot of talking points and context around race-related issues ahead of their event on Sunday, and are great reference documents if you’re unsure about the specific issues. Go here to see them (as of right now, Criminal Justice (Cash Bail) and Schools are posted, more will be posted soon).
Significant voter suppression efforts are taking place (Georgia in particular has been in the news). The NAACP, among others, is working very hard to get out the vote next month.
I leave you with an article by Eddie S. Glaude, Jr. in Time, a beautifully written and insightful piece that ends with “Forward movement is halting, inhibited, interrupted. Our history, if we’re honest, suggests we will fail. No matter. We go on — together.”
Listen. Amplify. Follow.
Listen. Amplify. Follow.
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