Statement of Unity
We are disheartened and angry that systemic racism and anti-black bias of those with power and privilege goes unchecked in 2020. George Floyd and his family and so many others before him, paid the ultimate price at the hands of those using their positions of power to unleash their bias.
We, like many of you, have devoted more than a decade to advocating for the social-emotional and character education of youth. We are housed in the Center for Human and Social Development at an institution, the College of Saint Elizabeth, with a 120 year old social justice mission. Recent events call for us doubling down on those efforts. More than ever we need young people of all races to embrace unity, to learn how to respect others and raise up the worth and value of all fellow human beings. As educators we have the responsibility to teach about the history of racism in the US, the social structures of social injustice, but also change the lens of viewing people of color as less than. Do not let the structural racism in the US define who people of color are. The struggles of people of color in the US were not because of who they are, but because of what those with power and privilege imposed. As educators we need to create safe spaces to have open and honest conversations about racism. To create those spaces we need to have adults and students with strong social-emotional competence and a positive, respectful, and inclusive school and classroom climate. It is only with these dialogues that we have the hope of ever eliminating systemic racism in our country.
Together we are stronger. Recent events have provided a profound and unusual opportunity to do things differently. While acknowledging and learning from the past, we encourage all to focus on what can be. We are committed to making the journey to a more just and equitable world together, hand in hand.