July 13, 2020
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.
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.
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:
- identify, understand and eradicate systemic racism
- remove European bias and anti-Black frameworks from the school’s curriculum
- implement active anti-racist practices and policies that will engage students, teachers, parents, school administration and the broader eductional community of NYC
- fight for social justice
- combat our own prejudices with open mindedness and celebration of differences
- find strength in our common humanity
- 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.
The Center School Committee on Racial Justice and Equity has updated their recommended reading list and there are many great options for all ages. We encourage you to choose one of these books to read as summer nears an end.
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.
In addition to sharing book recommendations, the committee intends to establish an ongoing book club (to be announced separately) and a permanent library collection (inclusive of these titles) at the Center School. The committee looks forward to continuing its work and we invite students, parents, teachers, and school administration to join in on our mission.