In Your Opinion: CJCP Creates Racial Equity Committee To Combat Systemic Racism

By Dr. Namik Sercan.

The CJCP Board of Trustees, administration, and staff are devastated by recent incidents of police brutality and racial violence in several communities around our nation. It is a very emotional and problematic time in our  country right now, which requires immediate and tangible actions from all segments of our community in unity  and solidarity. Just like the ones that happened throughout centuries, the recent  murders, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Tony McDade, and Ahmaud Arbery, are direct results of  long-time systemic  racism, oppression, and inconceivable criminal justice policies that have failed to address chronic racial injustice and inequity taking place in our society.

As educators, we realize the complexity of our reality. We stay true to our mission and are committed to educating a whole child here at our school, which entails teaching our students the history behind their identity,  the language behind their culture, and the geography from where they came. We take Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision to the heart. He says, “the function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” Therefore, we promote acceptance in our diverse learning community through open conversations, understanding, and empathy for one another. We continuously put concerted effort to help our students develop a skill set to see the world through different viewpoints and coexist in harmony. The culmination of such efforts brought us national recognition that we recently celebrated being a National Character School. But, we have realized that we could domore!

We developed a plan of action that will be more profound and go beyond what is already taking place to help combat systemic racism and racial injustice. Specifically, we are establishing a Racial Equity Committee at our school that is composed of a wide variety of members from our learning community, including students, parents, teachers and administrators. The committee will be tasked with making recommendations to the CJCP administration and the Board of Trustees on aspects related to racial equity and the equity policies within all curricular and extracurricular programs at our school. In addition, we are in the process of developing curriculum materials to raise awareness of implicit bias, and eliminate or mitigate racial inequity or it effects in our society.

Last but not least, we cannot ignore or underestimate the traumatic impacts  of  the recent  events  on our  school community. Our counseling department  put  together a  list  of resources  for  our students  and  parents to use  in  an effort to support the social and emotional growth of our students in the wake of racism. We seek  your collaboration to accomplish this task. As members of  our  school community,  we  always need  to  remember that we are far stronger together than when we are apart. We are confident that we will get through these enormous challenges and succeed if and only if we work together to ensure the well-being of all  our  students, particularly our  black students.  Please always keep in mind that we must be united and stand up against racism, hatred, and ignorance all  together as  a  whole community.  Be  well, stay  safe,  and  get involved because  “the ultimate  tragedy  is  not  the oppression  and cruelty by the bad people but the silence  over that by the good people,” as stated by Dr. Martin Luther King,Jr.

Dr. Sercan is the Chief Education Officer at CJCP.

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