Malcolm X once said, “you cannot separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom”. For me, this statement is the epitome of the black experience in America, and the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor have deepened the impact of that statement. Too many times we’ve placed our faith in a justice system that has failed people of color such as Trayvon Martin, Philando Castile, and Eric Garner. It is for that reason that we must change existing laws and enact new laws that dismantle systematic oppression. Now is not a time for silence; it is time for strategic action, well-informed voting, and an unapologetic voice about the injustice plaguing communities like Paterson across the country. It is only then that we will breathe again. —Dr. Gemar Mills, Executive Director of CAPS Paterson
A BETTER TOMORROW.
To Black, Latinx, and others of color in the CAPS community
“We see you, we understand you, and we are living it with you. You are justifiably tired and are doing all of this while trying to figure out how to emerge from this pain with a greater sense of purpose. We get it.”
To White scholars, families, and staff and other allies
“Thank you for standing with us during these unimaginable times. We know your hearts and intentions. It is critical now more than ever that you are not just allies but true abolitionists and co-conspirators (resource). Check on your friends and colleagues of color because they may look like they are okay, but chances are they’re not (article).
To parents, speaking with their children
Yes, it can be done and is important! Consider your child’s developmental maturity, past experiences, current awareness, and emotional place. Ask them what they think. Help them make sense the best you can. Look for ideas from others as well.
The crucial role of Education
“Education that is both rooted in real access and opportunities and free of institutionalized barriers is one of the fundamental building blocks necessary to eradicate and combat deadly ideologies like the racism that murdered George Floyd and countless other black men and women, leading to this current boiling point in our society.”
For more, read this article.
To teachers and staff
The CAPS approach is defined by this framework for culturally responsive teaching put out by ASCD. As explained in this article, a pedagogy based on racial justice can help end systemic oppression and fulfill the promise of education for all.” Moreover, we must all hold ourselves accountable (blogpost) as educators.
Click for a list of great texts you can read to think more about these issues!