To the students, families, and community members of the Antioch Unified School District:
I write to you to express empathy and solidarity as our community and the Nation collectively feels frustration and anger as we mourn, grieve, and protest the murder of George Floyd. Personally, I feel that words cannot adequately capture the feeling of sorrow in moments like these – moments we have sadly lived through too many times. My hope is that these words, at the very least, make you feel heard.
Although our City has not directly seen demonstrations like others have over the last few weeks, I know that many of our students and staff have traveled to places like Walnut Creek, Oakland, and San Francisco to put their bodies on the line for justice. This letter is to say that I see you, I hear you, and I stand with you.
I believe that we all have a responsibility, whatever elected office we hold, to recognize the historical and systemic oppression people of color, especially Black men, have faced at the hands of the government – a government which we as elected officials are representatives of. From the School Board to the White House, we all had a role to play in the upholding of racists institutions, and we now have a role to play in dismantling them.
In a press conference on June 1st State Superintendent Tony Thurmond talked about race, the murder of George Floyd, and inequities in the California school system. I agreed with him wholeheartedly when he stated “I believe that you deserve more than condolences and prayers. I believe that you deserve action that leads to racial justice.”
As one of your elected School Board Trustee I vow to take action to reduce the inequities we see in our school system, because yes, our very own District is a part of the problem, and we can be a part of the solution. Reducing the academic achievement gaps of our Black students, eliminating unfair disciplinary practices, hiring diverse staff, and keeping our students safe will help to produce the just and equitable world so many are fighting for right now. Because frankly, enough is enough, not one more, and Black lives matter.
Ellie Householder, MPP
AUSD Governing Board Trustee
(Please email the California Department of Education at firstname.lastname@example.org with ideas and feedback on racial equity in our schools. Feedback will be used to create online resources for schools across the State.)