We’ve been through a lot in the past year. Our nation and our communities have been battered by a relentless pandemic, economic chaos, and a long overdue but painful reckoning with racial injustice – wave upon wave of crises that continue to escalate with no clear end in sight.
We recognize that our role is to provide adaptive leadership, stewarding the Partnership through an unknown landscape without predetermined answers to complex challenges. The Partnership’s values and our core backbone functions: to Cultivate Alignment, Enable Accountability, Facilitate Collective Action, and Steward Advocacy provide us with guideposts.
To that end we offer you here a synthesized amplification of your voices and the voices of other nationally recognized racial equity advocates. We hope this tapestry of sentiment shines a light on existing common ground, further deepens your communication alignment and facilitates collaborative action toward John Lewis’ Beloved Community – “a nation and world society at peace with itself.”
As we, the Partnership’s backbone support staff, continue to consider our role in helping you, the Partners, navigate this moment, we want to let you know that we, like many of you, are wrestling with how best to show up. We want to be both bold in facilitating action and yet compassionate in adapting to the fear and stress showing up in our lives.
The ongoing stress of the moment can be overwhelming and your health, safety and wellbeing are a priority. With this in mind, the violent insurrection in the Capitol still in our hearts, and growing fear surrounding the inauguration, we acknowledge that plans (ours and yours) may need to change suddenly depending on what shows up in our world on any particular day. Please stay in touch with us as events unfold so that we can move forward in concert with one another.
In solidarity – with justice, equity, integrity and compassion – Marin Promise Partnership Backbone Team
It is by acknowledging our shared humanity and acting from a place of respect for the beauty of our diversity that we can be the change needed for hope, opportunity, and dreams to flourish… In the face of the abhorrent displays of racism at the Capitol on January 6th and the inequities deepened by the pandemic, our response is ready in the work of today; but we do not do it alone. Together with collaborators, allies, supporters, and advocates, we are harnessing the transformative power of relationships to remove barriers. Values of inclusion, service, and unity are helping to guide us toward justice, and importantly, to better outcomes in community… Self-sufficiency for all who live, work, play, and serve in our county is a goal that requires the whole of who we are, as well as a deep look at power, privilege, and the systems that support the status quo. With you as a partner, we will continue to lift up community voices, to support those who need a safety net, and to push for racial and economic equity in service to well-being for all of us. Wishing you a healthy start to the new year. – Chandra Alexandre, Community Action Marin Chief Executive Officer
“We understand that this has been a difficult week and hope you are finding time to process your thoughts and feelings about what occurred at our nation’s Capitol. Some images shared of the event depicted racist and antisemitic ideas, which are antithetical to the founding ideals of our nation and to what we stand for as a learning institution. We, as a district, remain committed to disrupting racism, antisemitism and biases of all kinds through continuous learning for our students and adults. Democracy is not guaranteed, it is maintained through collective action and belief in a system based on rule by the people, for the people and grounded in justice. It is our job to be active, engaged citizens and to diligently work towards a truly representative government that serves all equally.” – Tara Taupier, Tamalpais Union High School District Superintendent
“At a moment when the very fabric of our democracy and the values and principles upon which it rests are strained and stretched and tested in ways none of us have ever seen and few have imagined … How we respond now will define a pathway that will serve as a roadmap for our children and this community for generations to come. I am inviting you all to stay with us on our journey towards equity, justice, truth, inclusivity, and accountability. We need to embody these values along with optimism, and collaboration so that we can continue to transform ourselves and our community into a beacon of light that offers a roadmap for our children and other communities around the country to integration and true liberation” – Itoco Garcia, Sausalito Marin City School District Superintendent
“It’s been an extremely difficult day for our country… an unprecedented attack on our American democracy; I am shocked and scared to think about the implications. I struggled if I should even write to you. Today’s events reflect a nationwide crisis that is so much bigger than us and our schools. Even still, I cannot quiet the urge to use my own privilege and position of leadership to fully condemn the behavior… As I wonder how our students might be feeling… When we see adults not able to self regulate at the national level, it reinforces for me how important the work we are doing at our schools is to teach empathy, compassion, social emotional competencies, and yes, losing with grace. So while wrestling with the chaos of today, I am comforted by our collective work … the community we have built together and the values we hold in high regard as a District – community, equity and joy – reflecting the best of who we are as a country. There is real strength in that, and together we will continue our shared work of sending our students out into the world where they will lead a more just and inclusive future.” – Jim Hogeboom, San Rafael City Schools Superintendent
What occurred [at the US Capitol Building yesterday] is without precedent and I believe, wholly unacceptable. And while I want to say this is not America, the reality is that… it is today’s America. This is not who we need to be, but this is who we are. It is my belief that we are united in title, but we are divided by ideology. It does not need to be this way. We have far more in common than we do in difference. We can be better than this… While I understand these are just words, I believe words are a place to start and I believe the only way we will make progress is together. We must step up… together. If ever there was a time to come together, it is now. – Kris Cosca, Novato Unified School District Superintendent
The violent and divisive attack by rioters at our nation’s Capitol yesterday that disrupted our democratic processes must be vigorously condemned. We stand in solidarity with our state’s Congressional delegation as they work to ensure all voices are heard and all votes are counted.
College of Marin acknowledges the trauma and fear triggered by this event for members of our campus community, especially given the events of the past year. As educators, we also acknowledge the deeply rooted histories of white supremacy, systemic racism, and “othering” that has divided our country. We will not waver in our commitment to addressing issues of equity, social justice, and anti-racism at the College. We will remain steadfast in leading the change.
“Making a meaningful difference to combating white supremacy and racial injustice in the U.S. means committing to supporting organizations that are rooted deeply in—and trusted by—the African American and people of color communities they serve. This includes organizations that are grassroots and community-based as well as larger, national organizations, many of which are led by people of color. MCF also recommends considering organizations that meet the following criteria laid about by Marcus Walton, President & CEO of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations: Frame the Issue, Focus on Root Causes, Disaggregate Data.” This information is being shared as MCF has put together an annotated list of organizations you may wish to look to for future reflections on other racial and social justice events or issues as they arise. Click HERE to see this list.
The story of race in America as a dueling history of racial progress and the progression of racism is unfolding before our eyes. A dance of expanding representation and unvarnished white supremacy. The same day Georgia voted a Black man and a Jewish man into the U.S. Senate, a mob touting Confederate and Nazi flags attacked the U.S. Capitol seeking to overthrow certification of the presidential election.
Progress is undeniable. But it isn’t inevitable. And it certainly has not been continuous. Teachers in this moment can reflect on Martin Luther King Jr. statements that “human progress never rolls in on the wheels of inevitability” yet “we shall overcome” as they observe and acknowledge the link between the racism he resisted and the violence we just witnessed at the Capitol.
What Now? We can teach the history of racism, not just the history of racial progress. We can teach the missed opportunities. We can teach the present. We can let activists be models. – Excerpted and synthesized from Teaching Tolerance & Ibram X. Kendi
“When We Build Power. Expect Resistance – Today, as we celebrated the electoral victory in Georgia and began ushering in a change in leadership, the Capitol was attacked by white supremacists emboldened by Trump’s desperation to retain power. What played out today in the halls of Congress is a testament to the fact that we are changing the balance of power in this country. We knew there’d be backlash. We knew that white supremacists, with Trump’s support, would attempt to steal what we worked so hard for.” – Movement for Black Lives
In his 1963 essay “A Talk to Teachers,” James Baldwin wrote: “American history is longer, larger, more various, more beautiful, and more terrible than anything anyone has ever said about it.” The events surrounding this week’s presidential election are provoking a whirlwind of conflicting emotions among Americans, as some are buoyed by the expanding representation in our government, others are disturbed, angered, and frightened by this very same expansion. The attack on the halls of Congress and our democratic system of government was the culmination of that anger and fear, lit by the match of an unbridled White Supremacy Culture. In the days following these events, students will need opportunities to feel and express their emotions as well as support in separating facts from misinformation and sharing the news responsibly. Here’s how: Start with yourself. Coordinate with Colleagues. Adapt for Remote Instruction/Interaction. Contract with Your Class/Team. Share What We Know. Create Space for Reflection. Explore Strategies for Following the News (as it continues to unfold). – Excerpted and synthesized from Facing History and Ourselves
“This attack on democracy was shocking, but not surprising given the increasing violence, dehumanizing rhetoric, and outright lies that have been normalized over days, weeks, and years leading up to this moment… For decades, political leaders and media producers have been feeding a sense of white grievance to gain power and profit. Our screens and airwaves have been filled with rhetoric that devalues the ideas, humanity, and needs of Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC); women; LGBTQIA people; non-Christians; government leaders and workers. This demagoguery has created fertile ground for a rise in white supremacist violence… We hope that this is a wake-up call. Our nation needs to undertake the long and difficult task of dismantling white supremacy and all forms of oppression in our communities, institutions, media, and government. And we call on people from across the political spectrum to rededicate themselves to the pursuit of democracy, liberty, and justice for all. – Americans Friends Service Committee
“… Last week, we experienced the unthinkable—an armed, bloody insurrection in the Capitol. Incited by the president of the United States and his allies, a mob sought to upend the sacred process of certifying a legitimate election. This event was horrifying on many levels: the violent attack on our democracy, the blatant and unchecked display of white supremacy, and the careless disregard for public health in the midst of a worsening pandemic… We condemn what happened in the Capitol on January 6 in the strongest possible terms. This type of violence must be seen for what it is—an existential threat to our democracy. The path forward will not be easy. It will require confronting uncomfortable truths and deeply-rooted barriers to equity and opportunity. – Public Policy Institute of California