Committee for Racial Justice and Equity

MISSION STATEMENT

July 13, 2020 

Background

The Center School Committee for Racial Justice and Equality was formed in Summer 2020 by a group of concerned parents, under the auspices of the PTA. We stand in solidarity to achieve a common goal of dismantling white supremacy* racism, and white privilege in our school and society.

We unite in the wake of the murder by police of George Floyd in Minneapolis and are inspired by the recent protests against anti-Black racism that have emerged in response to police brutality disproportionately inflicted on Black people.

Our group also emerges in the contexts of 1) the longstanding history of police brutality against Blacks, Indigenous people and People of Color (BIPOC) in our own city, brutality which disproportionately affects immigrants and LGBTQ in BIPOC communities. 2) the education of our children in the most segregated school system in the United States. 3) our shared community of The Center School and its commitment to an educational environment in which all children feel valued.

Our Understanding:

Black Lives Matter.

Students at the Center School need resources and support around understanding racism, tools for dismantling white supremacy and models for joining the struggle for social justice.

The Center School is one small school in a city with a highly segregated and unequal public school system. We stand in solidarity with the broader movement to integrate and adequately fund all New York City public schools.

Our committee centers on addressing anti-Black racism. However, our work also connects us to other movements for equality, including gender and LGBTQ rights, immigrant justice, environmental justice, equity for students with disabilities, religious tolerance, and economic equality. 

Our Values and Vision:

All students should see their culture and history reflected accurately in the curriculum and activities of the school.

Black history, culture, and perspectives are US history and culture and should be centered in the teaching and curriculum.

Even as we focus on the Center School we affirm that all children deserve excellent teachers, adequate funding, good leadership and diverse, caring communities.

Our Commitments:

Through working together with parents, teachers, administrators, students and others in our  broader community, we are committed to developing additional resources to help each of us to:

  1. identify, understand and eradicate systemic racism
  2. remove European bias and anti-Black frameworks from the school’s curriculum
  3. implement active anti-racist practices and policies that will engage students, teachers, parents, school administration and the broader eductional community of NYC
  4. fight for social justice
  5. combat our own prejudices with open mindedness and celebration of differences
  6. find strength in our common humanity
  7.  foster an environment of equality, dignity, compassion and respect.

* While many rightly associate white supremacy with the Nazi party, the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and other extremist and violent hate groups, we refer here to the more widespread ideology of white supremacy: the idea that white people, their history, and their culture are inherently superior. We hope our use of the term will provoke deeper reflection on the role of white supremacy in education and in our communities.


Updates


April 30, 2021

The Center School Committee on Racial Justice and Equity is thrilled to welcome Jacqueline Woodson, a widely celebrated author of over 30 books including Red at the Bone, Before the Ever After, and Brown Girl Dreaming, and a 2020 MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Fellow.

This talk is aimed for CS kids and we’d love to air their questions.

We encourage your whole family to watch Jacqueline’s Ted Talk on youtube, read some of her poems on the Poetry Foundation’s website, and learn more about Jacqueline using the links below.  

Be part of the conversation! Please submit your questions for Jacqueline Woodson here.
See you Wednesday, May 5!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzAtOyw6ACwhttps://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/jacqueline-woodson
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/09/travel/ghana-african-slave-trade-jacqueline-woodson.htmlwww.jacquelinewoodson.com


April 13, 2021

We are excited to share that the committee will be back in conversation with our very own Jacqueline Woodson on May 5th, 2021, after the PTA Meeting. Save the date—more details to come. Meanwhile, learn more about Jacqueline and her writing here.  

The committee is preparing a new suggested summer reading list! A communication with some of the committee favorites will be shared via email in May.

We hope that everyone saw our recent communication expressing solidarity with the Asian-American community. We remain committed to speaking out against injustice and intolerance and reject all forms of it. To that end, we are researching various trainings to potentially offer the school community including bystander training and sensitivity training that may be helpful.

The committee will meet on April 20, 2021, and one final time this school year on May 18, 2021. While the entire committee will not formally meet again until September 2021 the subcommittees, special projects, and other discussion will occur as necessary. For more information, please email Adrian Stratton, Erin Leigh Peck, or Irina Fabre.


April 3, 2021

Dear Center School Community,

We (the CSCRJE and the PTA Board) are writing to express our grief and anger over the recent rise in anti-Asian violence that has taken place across our country and in particular the senseless murder of eight people in Georgia. Six of the victims were Asian American women: Daoyou Feng, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, Paul Andre Michels, Soon Chung Park, Xiaojie Tan, Delaina Ashley Yaun, and Yong Ae Yu. We mourn the loss of these lives, and stand with their families and communities. 

This is a difficult time for many Asian, Asian American, and Asian Pacific Islander students, families, and teachers in our community, as well as other BIPOC members of our community disproportionately affected by racism and racist violence. We are grateful to be part of a school community whose members support and stand in solidarity with each other.

The Center School Committee for Racial Justice and Equity came together last summer after the tragic murder of George Floyd, and we are painfully aware that last week’s murders are connected to other forms of white supremacist violence against racial and religious groups, as well as gender-based violence. We therefore write today guided by our ongoing mission to strive against all forms of white supremacy.

As we continue to work together toward a safer world for our children, we urge you to support Asian American organizations fighting racism around the country and working in solidarity with Black anti-racist organizations. We also encourage you to learn and talk with your children and students about the longstanding history of anti-Asian racism and violence in the US. Toward that end we have included some resources below.

Sincerely,

The Center School PTA Board 

CS Committee for Racial Justice and Equity

Organizations 

Red Canary Song: https://www.redcanarysong.net/

CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities: https://caaav.org/

Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta: https://www.advancingjustice-atlanta.org/

National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum: https://www.napawf.org/

Center for Pan Asian Community Services: https://cpacs.org/

Asian American Advocacy Fund: https://www.asianamericanadvocacyfund.org/

A Few Reading Lists and Resources

Radical Feminist Solidarities: a Reading List by Asian American Feminist Collective and Black Women Radicals (adults)

A reading List to Understand Anti-Asian Racism in America (adults)

Books highlighting Asian American culture by School Library Journal (mostly PreK-5)

Asian/Pacific Americans Librarians Association‘s Book Reviews (Kids and Adults)

Facing History and Ourselves Blog for 2020 API History Month

The Center School Committee on Racial Justice and Equity curated list of readings and resources (stay tuned for more readings focused on on AAPI history and culture, and history of anti-Asian racism)


September 2020

Center School Committee on Racial Justice and Equity Recommended Reading List

Curated by the committee, the recommended reading list is provided to help assist with a deeper understanding of the current social justice climate. Unfortunately, civil unrest regarding equitable participation in our society has continued, with ongoing protests taking place across the country. In times like these action is needed and all effective change starts with awareness, education, and understanding of issues.