Our state’s true success and prosperity depends on our schools’ capacity to prepare every student to become the next generation of leaders and visionaries. Yet Black, Brown, Southeast Asian, Pacific Islander and Native American students continue to find themselves separate and unequal, systematically shut out of opportunities for generational success and prosperity. Instead, generations of our students are funneled into the school-to-poverty or school-to-prison pipeline.
Despite knowing the historic and current reality of how race has shaped our country and schools, as a state, we shy away from addressing race and racial inequality head-on. Instead, we choose to use catchalls like “low-income” & “high-needs” to address the persistent inequities in today’s education system. We need to center race in our words, in our actions, and in our policies to truly address the inequities students of color face in today’s schools. We must demand Racial Equity.
“When a Latino student goes to school, their family goes. When Black, Latino students are suspended, a family is impacted. When a student is shot and killed by the police, entire communities weep. When parents are afraid to drop their kids to school, entire communities are impacted. Since the election many immigrant students are living in fear– wondering if today is the day that my parents– or the people that I love will be taken away. This constant fear impacts them on a social, emotional, and academic level. These fears have rippled through out our communities for decades.”
Hector Castaneda, CFJ San Jose Alumni
That change starts with relationships. The relationships we have with the students we serve. The relationships we have with each other, and most of all, the relationships we have with ourselves to be courageous enough to listen and learn about how deep racial inequality and injustice has fractured communities of color, and presently shapes the lives of students today – entire families, their growth, and aspirations.