The Anti-Racist Classroom
"We have to imagine the kind of society we want to inhabit. We can't simply assume that somehow, magically, we're going to create a new society in which there will be new human beings. No, we have to begin that process of creating the society we want to inhabit right now."
Attending to Anti-Racist Education in Sac City:
What the disparate impact of the pandemic on communities of color, and the recent racial uprising against police brutality and violence against Black Americans has highlighted is the critical need for Sac City to re-examine how we are actualizing our SCUSD Core Value that ”we vigilantly work to confront and interrupt inequities that exist to level the playing field and provide opportunities for everyone to learn, grow and reach their greatness.” We acknowledge our complex history with the disproportionality of suspensions for African Americans, as highlighted in the 2018 Capitol of Suspension report, achievement gaps between student groups, and implicit biases that can hurt our efforts to meet our students academic, social and emotional needs. As we return together, we do so with racial humility and a recognition that we have failed to address systemic racism, as a district, as a community, and as a society.
We are committed to a sustained journey of explicit and purposeful learning, reflection, and practice of eradicating systemic racism in our SCUSD schools. We understand that there is no right path, but we must stay the course in having these difficult conversations, even when the conversation is uncomfortable. Together, we can build collective efficacy to continue to cultivate belonging for all.
To advance the district's Equity and Access Guiding Principle we must support individual knowledge/understanding of:
How racism affects the lived experience of people of color and Indigenous people;
How racism is systemic, and has been part of many foundational aspects of society throughout history, and can be manifested in both individual attitudes and behaviours as well as formal (and "unspoken") policies and practices within institutions.
As a first step, we’ve created this Anti-Racist Classroom to support our community to learn, reflect, connect, and build our capacity to build true belonging for all. We define anti-racism as the “practice of identifying, challenging, and changing the values, structures and behaviors that perpetuate systemic racism.” (Ontario Anti-Racism Secretariat). Anti-Racist is “[a]n active and consistent process of change to eliminate individual, institutional, and systemic racism” (CRRF).
It’s our intention that the SCUSD Anti-Racist Classroom will be a brave space where multiple perspectives are welcomed, honored, valued, and respected. Our hope is that everyone will get what they need to heal, to grow, and to uplift each other toward racial justice and equity for all. We also acknowledge that this is one avenue to addressing anti-racism in Sac City, and are committed to adding more focused professional learning opportunities to support our educators in the upcoming year.
Suggestions for How You Might Use These Resources:
In our journey toward racial justice and true anti-racist education, we acknowledge that people may be at different places of that journey. To allow for and respect the different learning points of entry, please consider these suggestions as guides for how you might navigate through these resource offerings in your growth journey:
If you are beginning your journey of Anti-Racist education, you may want to start with the "LEARN" tab.
Read a book, article or listen to a podcast, then connect with a colleague to reflect on what you learned.
Follow a leader who is engaged in racial justice, equity, and anti-racist work. Learn more about their work and reflect on why this matters in our local context. Share and discuss with a family member or colleague what you've learned.
If you are interested in deepening your learning, click on the REFLECT/CONNECT to engage with others.
Find a book of interest and start your own book study.
Form an Affinity Group to better understand your shared racial identity and the role that you play in dismantling racism.
If you are ready to actualize your learning into practice, click on "COMMUNITY, BELONGING, & HEALING" and start building your capacity to be intentional and explicit about being an Anti-Racist Educator.