Thursday, September 249/24/2020
As we settle into Distance Learning, I want to take a moment to reinforce our racial equity and social justice framework we use as a district and a school. We left last spring after the killing of George Floyd and we have seen more Black men and women killed by the police, more violence at protests, and more division as a country.
The grand jury decision yesterday for Breonna Taylor’s killing is weighing heavy on my heart. Her death was the result of a system that has failed to support members of our community for too long.
The announcement that the Proud Boys will hold a rally on the site of historic Vanport is weighing on my soul. Having a hate group who openly supports violence, gather where the largest African American community in Oregon once stood is a reminder to us that that we have more work to do in creating an anti-racist society. Our district and school are committed to upholding values of inclusion and social justice, and still we have folks from our community gathering together at Delta Park this weekend to support hate. These demonstrations affect all of us, but especially our students and families of colors.
The over 100 days of protests in Portland is weighing heavy on my mind. As our students stand up for justice and practice their first amendment rights, they have been tear gassed along with other protesters through the summer. These are all reminders that now, more than ever, we need to be focused on racial equity, social justice, and care for our entire community.
At Roosevelt High School, Black Lives Matter. We will continue work to better support our Black students and colleagues. This year, teachers and staff will spend time in our professional learning focusing on how to better connect with and serve our BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) students and how to support our BIPOC teachers and staff.
I stand with, and will support, our students in continuing to voice their concerns about the systemic racism in our Roosevelt High School system and the larger community. We will continue to empower the Student Equity Council (SEC) to be a voice for our students on issues within our school and larger community. This group is instrumental in helping to make our teaching and support staff reflect the diversity of our students. All summer long, teachers, students, and administrators worked together to interview and hire teachers. Working with students and watching them ask teacher candidates pointed questions about Black Lives Matter and the school to prison pipeline was the highlight of my summer. As one student said in the interviews she participated in, “Nothing about us, without us.” I think about that statement a lot as we revisit the demands our Black students shared during Hoodies Up Day. Demands for racial justice, and creating a school and a system that addresses the harm done and finds ways to move forward to dismantle the racism we see.
Last spring, we created a video letting our students know how we support them during these times of racial unrest. I am sharing it with the community again to remind everyone about the commitments we made to our students.
I support Black Lives. I support our students and teachers of color, and I support all of our students and staff who are working together to make our school and community less racist and more just.
I’m so proud of the work our students and staff have done for years to focus on inclusion and issues affecting our school, community, and world. I’m so proud to be a Rider and serve as your Principal.
“Nothing can stop the power of a committed and determined people to make a difference in our society.” ~John Lewis