Dear Northshore Families, Mon 6/ 1/ 2020 7:08 PM
I trust this note finds each of you enjoying some part of this early June week. Today, I am writing to share my thoughts as they relate to events in our community and country at this time and what our role is in making the necessary changes for all in our community and country to feel safe and healthy.
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” – Desmond Tutu
This quote has spoken to me before, but today, it is speaking to me louder than ever. As a white woman, an educational leader, and the Superintendent of the Northshore School District, I have a personal and professional duty to cultivate the necessary conditions for just and equitable change in our education system and community.
As one Northshore School District community, we all have the duty to care for each of our students, amplify the voices of the unheard, and utilize the tools and resources that we have to dismantle hurtful structures and promote healing with and for our stakeholders. We must speak up about injustices that have over a 400-year history in this country, and that continue to shape our institution and minoritize students, families, community members, and staff in and outside of our community.
I have been reflecting on the senseless killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and the many Black lives that have been lost in the name of racism and white supremacy in America. I feel the deep sorrow and hear the painstaking cries of the Black community and I am with them in solidarity. Of course, each of us matters, and yet we must take the time to put a spotlight on the lives that have been undervalued and oppressed systemically, institutionally, and interpersonally. This is a time to understand the harm that has been inflicted on the Black community, and just as much a time to see the beauty in Black lives; this is the time to say Black Lives Matter.
This weekend, I shared the following excerpt from a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The speech was titled “The Other America” and was delivered at Stanford University in 1967…more than 50 years ago. In my tweet, I shared that in Our House, we are listening.
We must also recognize that our Black students, staff, and community members cannot leave this type of enduring pain at the door, or in Zoom waiting rooms. Please take the time to check in on these individuals and acknowledge the heavy emotions that they bear at this time, even as we deal with unprecedented health and safety challenges.
I am committed to our internal work, continuing our work with local jurisdictions and beyond, and together having the courageous conversations that will move us forward together on this issue that, for some, is about life and death. I also encourage you to visit our Equity and Diversity webpage where we have posted resources for staff and families to learn about race issues in our country and how to discuss these issues with children. I want to thank the Kokanee Elementary equity team for partnering in gathering resources for this list. Dr. Bigelow and his Equity and Diversity team will continue to add resources. Please continue to share resources with the Equity and Diversity Department; together, all things are possible…
And with that, I wish to say the following: The Northshore School District continues to stand for equity, for our staff and administrators to be equipped with the skills to have these critical conversations with students and one another, to come together and build a community of safety and belonging, to teach our white students how to be strong allies and our students of color that they are important and valued, and to show all of our students how to imagine and build justice-driven futures.
We are Northshore!!
Michelle Reid, Ed.D.
Northshore School Distric
Submitted: Dec 28, 2020