On this day of independence, let's revisit our statements on #BlackLivesMatter. We are not free until everyone is free.
RECN Core Team's Statement on #BlackLivesMatter
“The thing worse than rebellion is the thing that causes rebellion.” - Frederick Douglass
With the recent series of senseless murders of unarmed Black men and women. We cannot sit in silence any longer! We cannot continue to stand by.
These slaughters have left the RECN team, not stunned, not surprised but frustrated, outraged, angry, and charged. While we mourn yet another loss and collectively saying ALL of their names, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Travon Martin, and Tamir Rice just to name a few of the so many, we will not sit by and wait for the next. Social justice is multifaceted. The police brutality that we are all witnessing is just one piece of that complexity.
How do we break down an evil cycle that has been clearly rooted for the last 401 years? WE stand united, WE demand better, WE demonstrate our grief and frustrations, WE stand up for the wrongs, WE talk to any and all who will listen, WE demand answers, WE demand change, and WE change the course of justice. We educate and we agitate.
Enough is Enough, and we will not be silent. Get your knees off our necks!
We recognize and acknowledge that each of us travel down different paths as we navigate our social justice work.
Some of us engage in courageous conversation, some provide trainings, some organize, some protest, some stand in solidarity, some write letters to governance, some talk to anyone who will listen but none of us sit in silence, none of us sit by and watch it happen. Be brave, be courageous, find your path and travel it. We love you, we see you, and know we are on the path with you.
Our immediate ask for every single one of you is to take it to the polls. Voting is our first collective step in the revolution. However, be mindful it is more than just voting, many of our highest brutality tragedies in our cities are coming from our own democratic leaning states and communities. Educate anyone who will listen on policies and candidates. Vote specifically, vote for system change, vote for the right person to do the critical necessary work who will lead that change. We owe it to future generations, our own families, and our own communities to lead this work. We are influencers and organizers; mount up and unite, the revolution has begun.
Much love, we see you,
Rainier Educators of Color Equity Leadership Core Team
RECN Core Team White Ally and Accomplices' Statement on #BlackLivesMatter
‘It comes as a great shock to discover the country which is your birthplace and to which you owe your life and your identity has not in its whole system of reality evolved any place for you.’ - James Baldwin
AS WHITE ALLIES WE RECOGNIZE:
That racism harms us all. Violence and abuse, whether perpetrators, victims or resistors - traumatizes ALL of us - particularly our BIPoC [Black Indigenous People of Color];
Our students, families and educators of color do not and have not felt safe in our streets, public spaces, classrooms and our schools, and this is due to White Supremacy;
It is our responsibility to do our own research and use our own emotional labor to understand racism, and to create space for BIPoC to share their stories and truths whenever possible;
That as white people steeped in a culture of White Supremacy, we too have been complicit in implementation of racist policies in our public schools;
Our own racist stories include engaging in blatant overt racism and implicit bias, and we own our actions and inactions. We will tell our own racist stories to model for our White Allies to join us;
We all fall somewhere on the continuum of racism and that we have work to do to become abolitionist educators and anti-racists;
Our own teaching, textbooks, classroom libraries, curriculum and discipline methods - have added to creating a racist society that has led us to this horrific, yet transformative opportunity;
That wealth inequality is inherently racist stemming from our nation’s founding and that standardized testing is partly responsible for perpetuating economic oppression for BIPoC.
Paul Gorski states, “The hard truth is that racial equity cannot be achieved with an obsessive commitment to ‘meeting people where they are’ when ‘where they are’ is fraught with racial bias and privilege.”
We recognize we have been trying to meet other white people ‘where they are’ and thereby have extended permission for these atrocities to continue. Clearly this has not worked or we would not be where we are as a society today. We are asking White Allies to step forward to move beyond their comfort zones now.
We choose transformation over perpetuation.
Remove ALL racist building and district policies, including discipline policies that dehumanize our BIPoC students, families and educators.
End all racist high stakes testing including the Smarter Balanced Assessment, EdTPA, iReady, STAR, MAP, WA KIDS, and WA AIM testing.
Develop a transformative program to recruit, educate, mentor and retain BIPoC educators with a goal to more closely match school demographics.
Provide complete budget transparency on the line item costs of all police expenses in our schools/SROs and to defund these racist disciplinarian and surveillance dollars to fund counselors and nurses, not cops.
Develop school-wide social events to establish safe relationships between anti-racist white allies and educators of color, expanding these to BIPoC families, district and community groups, creating permanent relationships and valuing of our beloved BIPoC.
Provide professional counseling support to all BIPoC students and educators who have experienced trauma due to racist policies or treatment in our public schools.
Enact a Restorative Justice policy to replace suspension, expulsion and incarceration of BIPoC with exceptions limited to extreme violence.
Enact policy that ensure those who are contributing to Anti-Racist work are no longer bullied and intimidated by district and administrators to maintain White Supremacy.
W.E.B du Bois said, “Don’t work toward an antiracist world just for the benefit of black people. If you are doing it just for us, stop now; it’s not sustainable and it’s not real.”
Therefore, as the White allies of the Rainier Educators of Color Network (RECN), we demand of our local district principals, administrators, superintendents and school boards the following:
Commit our schools and playgrounds to become Anti-Racist Zones.
Commit to professional development to achieve becoming Anti-Racist Zones as the #1 priority of School Improvement goals.
Provide mandatory anti-racism training approved by our BIPoC educators for all white staff working in our schools to reach the School Improvement Goal.
Provide professional development to all educators and engage RECN’s Core Team in the development of Ethnic Studies curriculum.
Develop Equity Teams in each district building that become Ethnic Studies leaders in our schools, decolonizing and humanizing all district curriculum across all subjects.
Immediate formation of Anti-Racist White Ally Teams in each school to begin the work of discussions with white educators/families on the task of culture transformation.
Defund the police in schools/SRO’s and comply with the demands of #BlackLivesMatterAtSchool: 1) End “zero tolerance” discipline, and implement restorative justice 2) Hire more black teachers 3) Mandate black history and ethnic studies in K-12 curriculum 4) Fund counselors not cops
As White Allies, we will engage with BIPoC from our community and schools to review, analyze and make this work the priority it needs to be because we should want to live in a world that makes it possible for all people to feel safe and to feel valued as human beings.
We ask other White allies to recognize we ALL benefit from dismantling institutional racism and hope you will sign on to our demands.
We ask that you read and commit to using some of these Anti-Racism Resources (Updated frequently).
We, the undersigned, believe in these statements and commit to transforming our schools into Anti-Racist Zones,
Susan DuFresne, White Ally of the RECN Core Team
Julianna K. Dauble, White Ally of the RECN Core Team
Joanne Barber, White Ally of the RECN Core Team
Sara Jerger, RECN White Ally
Christina Konze, RECN White Ally
Julie Kastien, RECN White Ally
John Mallory, RECN White Ally
Jennifer Bathelt, RECN White Ally
Robin Goldberg, RECN White Ally
Amanda Mell, RECN White Ally
Miriam Hogley, RECN White Ally
Mary Jo McLaughlin, RECN White Ally
Amy Poetker, RECN White Ally
Robin Goldberg, RECN White Ally
Beth Watson, RECN White Ally
Christine Olsen, RECN White Ally
Junnell Novelo, RECN White Ally
Christina Konze, RECN White Ally
Jenny Bathelt, RECN White Ally
Sandy Gady, RECN White Ally
Roseanna Allen-Garibaldi, RECN White Ally
Sarah Polda, RECN White Ally
Charleen Burulana, RECN White Ally
Shannon Lalonde, RECN White Ally
Joanna Rodriguez, RECN White Ally
Layne Taylor, RECN White Ally
Michael Stein-Ross, RECN White Ally
Amelia J Swinton, RECN White Ally
Jennifer Keil, RECN White Ally
Ellie Rice, RECN White Ally
Jaime Flesher, RECN White Ally
Cory Campbell, RECN White Ally
Delila Leber, RECN White Ally
[Additional signatures are being collected and will be added to the page.]
If you identify as a White Ally or Accomplice, you may sign on to this statement by completing this Google Form.