Raise Your Hand Texas stands in solidarity with the Black community. George Floyd was killed, and allowed to be killed, because he was Black. Ahmaud Arbery was hunted down and killed, and allowed to be killed, because he was Black. Many others, including Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Javier Ambler have been killed, and that reality is not only sad and infuriating, it is disgraceful. Their unjust deaths are examples of how systemic racism results in an ongoing pattern of anti-black violence, which has persisted throughout our nation’s history. We cannot perpetuate this legacy through our beliefs, policies, and systems. Public education has played a role in perpetuating a legacy of systemic racism and public education must play a role in creating an equitable and just future.
As an organization, our indignation led us to reflect on where we are falling short in combating systemic racism. We gathered our team and listened to one another’s stories. We discussed how honest conversations about race can empower our organization to speak out against injustice and shift our work to fight against it. As a result, we are reevaluating Raise Your Hand’s commitments to equity and anti-racism through our programmatic investments and policy work.
We will continue to promote the importance of a more diverse teaching workforce through our programs. We must include professional development about racial equity in our programming for sitting teachers, school leaders, and students in teacher preparation programs. We know addressing racial equity in schools means connecting with families and supporting their needs. We are also exploring specific policies that directly impact Black students, such as funding inequities, early learning opportunities, culturally-informed policies and practices, wrap-around services, fair accountability practices, and a more diverse teaching workforce. Additionally, the organization is committed to strengthening our internal processes, staffing, and training toward racial equity.
Change on this front is long overdue and hard to come by, but essential. We are committed to it, and we will hold each other accountable for it.
For us, this work begins now.