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We write today to condemn the hideous acts of ignorance and violence against George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Christian Cooper, and so many more Black people in America and throughout the world. As a Consortium of member schools serving more than 100,000 young people across this nation and purposefully committed to opening up opportunity for each and every student, we are a networked coalition calling for a better future.
Young people in society hold great potential to shape the world into a better place. That belief drives our movement for educational change and the broader movement for social progress. In his recent address, Former President Obama raised up so many examples: “Dr. King was a young man when he got involved. Cesar Chavez was a young man. Malcolm X was a young man. The leaders of the feminism movement were young people. Leaders of Union movements were young people. The leaders of the environmental movement and the movement to make sure that the LGBT community finally had a voice and was represented were young people.”
Rachel Skiffer, head of school at MTC member Khan Lab School, acknowledged the critical role that seventeen-year-old Darnella Frazier served when she went to the store with her cousin the other week. “Little did she know she would take the video that would mobilize millions across the nation and around the world to protest the killing of George Floyd. I am grateful that Darnella had the courage to bear witness and document.”
We’re grateful for the messages coming forth from our member schools to their communities. You have called upon us as teachers and changemakers to educate ourselves fully and responsibly and to do the same for the students in our care. In the words of leaders from member school Gibson Ek, “This work is not easy--it takes courage, vulnerability, willingness to seek other perspectives, and openness. As a district, we know we can make a difference. We can listen so others are heard. We can stand so others are supported. We can model so others can see. We can act so others know our commitment.”
MTC is committed to overcoming barriers to equitable participation in our Consortium and holding ourselves accountable to reflecting the full diversity of our country. We are working with our partners and member schools to advance learning models and ecosystems that support each unique student in achieving their full potential.
As individuals, as an organization, and as a networked coalition we are committing ourselves to deepening our consciousness of the systemic racism that has for too long reinforced the construct of whiteness.
“No one wants to see more than he sees. You have to be driven to see what you see.”
James Baldwin, American writer and activist
This is work in progress. We know we have much more to do.
Today we stand with protesters throughout the country. Black Lives Matter. The safety of each Black person matters. The future of each Black person matters. We must work together to operationalize the promise of these words into actions that are concrete and lasting. Lifting up progressive and pragmatic policies in states across this nation, from Vermont and Massachusetts to South Carolina to Washington, Utah, and California, MTC shares a commitment--and vows to work harder--to advance equitable and inclusive educational solutions that support young Black people and the dismantlement of systemic racism, which so often begins in school.
MTC Advisor Caroline Hill speaks for so many right now: “How do we restart and reopen our communities in the middle of two pandemics—the acute one that infests our physical body and the chronic one that has ravaged our spiritual and physical body for generations?”
These questions will continue to urge us forward.