OPEN LETTER ON BLACK LIVES MATTER
Dear EdLoC Family, Friends and Supporters,
We are in a time of immense outrage and sorrow. In the wake of a pandemic that disproportionally affects people of color, yet again, Black people’s lives are taken at the hands of law enforcement and abject racism. We are both angry and mourning. We feel it, and we know you feel it too.
The COVID-19 crisis has laid bare much of what we already knew: we are disproportionately affected by large-scale crises because we have been historically denied access to basic resources, like decent healthcare, quality schools, and employment opportunities. We are this country’s “essential workers” and first responders who leave our own children to pack others’ groceries or care for the sick or elderly. Yet we are not protected adequately. Our family members are hourly workers, or part of the informal economy. They continue to mow others’ lawns, fulfill takeout orders, or care for others’ children. Yet they still don’t earn a decent wage to provide for their own children. And now, within this already frightening context, we die again at the hands of law enforcement sworn to protect us.
This isn’t a unique moment in time – and none of us are immune. College educated Black people still have less wealth than white high school dropouts. This racism has its origins in well-established systems and long-standing practices of segregation and racism, and that is why protests reverberate across this country and beyond. As a community, we are emotionally and physically exhausted from fighting against the tide of racist establishments and leadership. We are fed up, and it’s time to dismantle the systems that got us here.
We know that the most effective change happens at the local level. We commit to supporting the work our community is doing to fight racist systems and confront injustice. And because we recognize that the classroom is often the most important place where we can be honest, we call on education leaders across the country to engage students on the history of systemic racism and oppression, and to help them understand how communities have historically resisted that oppression. We have compiled resources for educators to discuss with their students the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the many others whose deaths have forced us to proclaim #BlackLivesMatter. You can find them here.
We also call on city leaders to protect Black lives and implement policy reforms including reviewing their use of force policies, instituting community oversight and accountability measures and negotiating fair, transparent police union contracts.
EdLoC serves as an example of a way forward — a strong, multi-racial, national coalition of leaders who are addressing inequities in Black and Latinx communities every single day. We all must do more to root out racism in all its forms, and we can start by supporting leaders in our network who are on the front lines of this work. Consider donating to any of our Boulder Fund recipients, or the Boulder Fund itself.
Black Lives Matter. We stand with our Black communities.
Layla & Sharhonda
Education Leaders of Color (EdLoC) is a community of more than 300 leaders of color working to elevate the leadership, voices and influence of people of color in education and to leading more inclusive efforts to improve education. EdLoC aims to advance a third way that breaks through the polarizing divides that have consumed efforts to improve public education and to forge the alliances needed to realize and sustain EdLoC’s vision of providing low-income children of color expansive and substantive opportunities for the highest levels of academic and economic attainment.