(Originally posted on Facebook on June 3, 2020) To our community:
No words can sufficiently express the horror and heartbreak of the events of the last week. The murder of George Floyd rightly sparked anger, outrage and extreme frustration that yet again, our society's overt and implicit biases and systemic racism has resulted in the death of a Black American. This must stop. We stand with our black and brown students, families and staff, and we grieve this abhorrent injustice. And, we need to do more.
As individuals, we have an opportunity to reflect, unlearn generations of bias, and commit to doing better. We must consider and confront the ways in which we are complicit with the racist policies, practices and laws that exist in our society. As Ibram X. Kendi states in his book, How to Be an Antiracist, “The opposite of racist isn't 'not racist.' It is 'anti-racist. One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an anti-racist. There is no in-between safe space of 'not racist.” We will not see true change happen until those of us who are white, who hold much more power and privilege, decide to be active anti-racists and stand up for and demand equity for all.
PTAs can play an important role in this effort. We need to be continually evaluating our policies and practices to examine how inclusive and supportive they are to all students and families. Here are some questions for your PTA to consider:
Does your Board represent and reflect your school community?
Do you reach out to parents through a variety of communication strategies and languages?
Do you actively seek to engage a variety of families to be involved, both in providing feedback, offering their perspective and knowledge, and in taking on leadership opportunities?
Do you reach out to parents whose race, class, language, nationality and educational background is different than your own?
Are your fundraising activities inclusive? Do you have concrete ways to utilize different kinds of monetary and non-monetary contributions and value them equally?
Are your events inclusive of a variety of family structures, cultures, and traditions?
Do you have a position on your Board that focuses on equitable family engagement and inclusion?
At Council, we are committed to this type of evaluation of our work. We value our partnership with the District's Department of Equity & Family Engagement to help make sure that our programs and policies are supportive of all students and families, and we will continue to prioritize promoting equitable family engagement and providing racial literacy education for all of our PTAs. There is much more we can do, and we will continue to seek ways we can be better anti-racists in how we do this work.
Let's remember the mission of the National PTA - To make every child’s potential a reality by engaging and empowering families and communities to advocate for all children. Families are enduring hardship on all fronts these days, and as a community, we must stand together and support one another to ensure that all our children can thrive. Please talk with your neighbors, your children, your PTA community and others, and then really listen and commit to change. Our country's future - and our children's future - depends on it.
PTA Council is actively engaged with the Shoreline School District and our local PTAs to provide support for all families during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please see the information below for ways to lend a hand or receive support. Please also connect directly with your PTA leadership or email Co-Presidents Heather Segars and Amy Reed here. The District web page is an excellent resource for up to the minute information for Shoreline and Lake Forest Park students and families and includes a broad range of topics including childcare, financial assistance, food access, health care and much more. We are grateful to our incredible PTA volunteers and the broader community who have all stepped up and engaged in important and meaningful ways at every level. What an amazing and strong community we have!