Dear Impact Community, including our families, faculty, funders & supporters:
The horrific, senseless deaths of innocent Black men and women in America must stop. Our hearts break for the families of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and too many others who have died for no reason other than the color of their skin. These Black lives mattered, as do all Black lives. Their losses to their friends, family, and communities, are incalculable.
It is impossible to find words to describe our anguish. All of us in the Impact community are processing with pain and anger. How many black and brown men, women and children sit in jail awaiting justice with far less evidence – for minor infractions, for just living – while the police who killed George Floyd sat free, in the comfort of their homes for far too long?
We stand alongside the individuals using their voice, demanding equity and justice. We stand with our students, families, and faculty who are personally impacted by the daily threats against their well-being and existence.
And while our nation burns, how many of us sit free in the comfort of our own homes? Feeling sad, yes, but with the freedom to turn the channel, scroll down the feed and take a break when the news becomes overwhelming or too painful. Selective outrage when it’s popular is not enough. We must stand in BRAVE SOLIDARITY today and every day until there is justice. Justice for George Floyd and for every Black man, woman, and child that has died at the hands of state-sanctioned police brutality in America.
Each of us has the responsibility to act today and every day, especially those of us who are white. And we know we haven’t done enough. But the shame and heaviness of having not done enough must not paralyze us from doing everything we can now and moving forward. At Impact, we commit to taking action today, then setting a recurring reminder for ourselves to take action again tomorrow, next week, next month, and the month after that. When that reminder goes off, we will ask ourselves if we are doing all we can, and then do more.
Are you the parent of a black, brown or bi-racial child? We see that you are grieving, for our country’s collective loss and for the impact this has on every child. The Impact community is grieving with you and we are here to support you. We stand with you. Are you a parent of a white child? Talk to your child about the ways racism plagues our country and ensure your child’s bookshelf celebrates characters of color. Please use this Impact vetted elementary booklist to diversify your library. Are you a white teacher, school/organization leader or funder? Continue to learn about your own racial identity, build your consciousness of how this impacts your practice, and teach your students and teams to be anti-racist.
At Impact Public Schools, our power lies in co-constructing a more just future with our families and students, a future that is not yet reflected in the realities of all in our community. This is why we believe so strongly in the importance of decolonized, liberating curriculum that empowers all voices, and in deep, ongoing professional development in diversity, equity and inclusion. While our organization was founded with these model elements, we know these aren’t sufficient and we are eager to do more. We will continue to look for ways to take action both within ourselves and in tangible ways that model our values. We have started by personally donating to the following places. If you’re able, we encourage you to join us:
- George Floyd Memorial Fund
- Black Lives Matter
- Northwest Community Bail Fund, which provides bail to peaceful community protesters in/around Seattle who are incarcerated without committing a crime
- North Star Health Collective, which provides street medics for peaceful protest sites
In addition, we call for our entire community to take action together by signing this petition with the Civil Rights group Color of Change that demands that all officers involved in Floyd’s death be brought to justice, and to contact your representative and demand action to stop police violence. Please share your actions on social media with #bravesolidarity, #JusticeforFloyd and #blacklivesmatter, and encourage your friends to take similar action.
We must make and hold space for healing in the midst of the constant traumas endured by our black and brown friends in our country. It is important for us as a community to name that the recent events may be layering further trauma and heartache on top of the COVID-19 related stress, anxiety, and fear for our Black families, students, and faculty. Please join us for a virtual Community Circle this Tuesday evening (June 2nd) at 4:30pm. Please complete this form to receive log-in credentials for the Zoom meeting. This will be a space for our families and faculty of color to grieve, vent and share, and for white allies in our community to stand in solidarity. All are welcome.
Black Lives Matter,
Jen Wickens, CEO
Kristen McCaw, CFO/COO
Abigail Cedano, CAO
Impact Public Schools