Race and Social Justice
Why We Need to Have This Conversation Now
In an effort to achieve our Equity & Access Guiding Principle, (all students are given an equal opportunity to graduate with the greatest number of postsecondary choices from the widest array of options), it is imperative that we acknowledge and understand the racism that exists in our system. We can only advance so far with our Equity and Access Guiding Principle if we don’t support individual knowledge/understanding of:
- How racism affects the lived experience of people of color and indigenous people
- How racism is systemic, and has been part of many foundational aspects of society throughout history, and can be manifested in both individual attitudes and behaviors as well as formal (and “unspoken”) policies and practices within institutions.
Recent racist acts of violence against African Americans and unrest in our community require a much more intentional conversation about the implications of racism in our community and what actions are needed to move toward collective healing. Just as COVID-19 has impacted everyone in our community, the racist actions and subsequent unrest have layered on additional trauma for our SCUSD students, families, and colleagues.
Facts and Historical Trauma
- African Americans are 2- 4 times more likely to have the use of force from police than whites. (Center for Policing Equity)
- African Americans are 3 times more likely to be killed than whites.
- In addition to Dontre Hamilton, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, and many other African Americans killed by police, Stephon Clark was shot to death in his grandparents backyard in March 2018 in Sacramento, CA
- Recent killings that have resulted in mass unrest and
- George Floyd was killed on May 25th by a police officer in Minneapolis, MN.
- Breonna Taylor was killed in early March 2020 in Kentucky by police when they went to the wrong address
- Ahmaud Arbery was shot in February 2020 while running through a neighborhood in Georgia.
Resources to Support Navigating These Times of Unrest
- SCUSD Essential Resources to Address Trauma + Race
- Obama Foundation: Anguish and Action
- SCUSD Educators’ Unity Toolkit
- Center for Policing Equity
- National Equity Project: Rebel Leadership for Our Collective Future
This webpage and resources were collaboratively curated by staff from the SEL, Student Support and Health Services, and Youth Development Departments
Educators Advocacy for Students
Establish a Socially and Emotionally Safe Space for Learning
- Create a WELCOMING/INCLUSIVE Ritual/Rhythm daily
- Check-in and Community Building that honors how people are showing up and connecting to each other (ex: Mood Meter or Circles)
- Embed BRAIN BREAKS and MINDFULNESS PRACTICES throughout your lesson (include links in your Google Classroom or use Remind Text to encourage regular brain breaks throughout the day)
- End each class/lesson with a meaningful Optimistic Clo
Youth Voice and Safe Spaces
Youth Voice and Safe Spaces are important aspects in healing. Obtaining youth voice creates safe spaces for youth and helps develop youth by seeing them not only as assets but also as agents capable of transforming systems and other toxic environments, not simply developing resilience and resistance to them. Below are some things to consider in youth empowerment and obtaining youth voice:
Community Collaboration and Collective Efficacy
Reflect: deepen your own self-awareness
Start by by reflecting on the following questions: