Superintendent's Message, June 2, 2020
On Friday I responded to the tragic events in our country by calling for courageous conversations, kindness and compassion. Monday I sent a voicemail to our entire staff and school families stating that our school district will not tolerate racism. These words were shared from a place of grief and pain. Grief from the murder of Mr. George Floyd. Pain from what has occurred across many cities in our nation in the days since.
I know the range of emotions that our students, staff, and families are experiencing is as diverse as we are. Many of us, no matter our age, race, or gender are distraught, angry and confused. As educators we want to lead and let people know it is not ok to remain silent. I have not been silent, but perhaps I didn’t speak loudly enough.
I want to state this more clearly than ever: Everett Public Schools is vehemently opposed to racism and any kind of oppression of human beings based on race, gender, ethnicity, sexual preference or identity, age, religion or disability. The persistent racism and aggression against black people is deeply disturbing and we cannot tolerate these injustices. As Angela Davis stated, “It’s not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.” We stand in unity with our students of every color. We believe deeply in ensuring all students are healthy, supported, engaged and safe.
Some people would say they feel powerless and don’t know what to do. There are many options. Every person has a responsibility and is empowered to make positive change.
You have my pledge that our district will continue to improve our own equity, diversity and inclusion work. We are committed to provide and require anti-racism professional development for all staff so no student will be marginalized. We will ensure our policies and practices do not perpetuate harm. And we will continue to improve our work to ensure that our staff, our curriculum, and our instruction are reflective of the communities we serve.
As we work to improve, ask yourself what you can do as an individual. Everyone can do something to make this better, and we all have a lot to learn. We are life learners so I know we can do it. We must create a more powerful vision of what our society should be and can be. We cannot forget the atrocities we witnessed this week. To our staff and students of color, particularly our black community, please know that we see you and we support you.
We can choose how our next chapter will be written. Everett Public Schools community can show love in the face of hatred, have courageous conversations in these times of fear and ignorance, and we can have kindness and compassion to every person as we walk and work side by side, equally.
Dr. Ian B. Saltzman, Superintendent