Yesterday, hundreds from the Nashville education reform community came together to mourn the victims in Charleston and of the many tragic racially motivated killings of 2015. My awesomely fierce colleague Lagra Newman (Founder and Director of Purpose Prep) and I collaborated on delivering a statement to the group. Here is that text:
"We gather — as a community of educators — to acknowledge that something is fundamentally wrong in 2015. Too many of our black brothers and sisters — and far too many of our kids — have been murdered because of the color of their skin. Countless more endure a death-by-a-thousand cuts maze of discrimination that limits their potential and chips away at their spirit.
This is an American problem — and it’s a Nashville, Tennessee problem. We live in a state with a legislature that does nothing to address gun violence in our cities, in a state that maintains a state park named after the founder of the Ku Klux Klan, and in a state that continues — in 2015 — to promote symbols of slavery.
As educators, it is our responsibility to prepare our scholars for the world that awaits them. But — as it stands — this world is far from one we can be proud of. As it stands, our students – many of whom are students of color coming from low-income backgrounds – must learn to navigate a world where the odds are stacked against them.
And as it stands, our scholars must learn much more than math, reading, or science to succeed. Our kids must learn lessons rooted in a deep, entrenched history of institutionalized racism and classism that are just as relevant today as they were fifty years ago.
It’s time for us as a movement to stand up — and speak up — to use our talents, privilege, and passions to demand more from our leaders for our kids and their families. We are marching here today because we cannot remain silent. We owe it to our kids to show them that we are united behind a different vision for the world they will enter."