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    June 1 Letter to Families
    Posted on 06/01/2020

    Dear Families:

    Translated family letter

    It has been another week of horrific acts and images and a replay of many incidences in our country's racist history. It has surfaced long-standing trauma for many and brought up past scars of historical suffering and pain.

    Many of us are feeling overwhelmed, weary, and deeply saddened. I encourage you to stand firm in your resolve and commitment. Our voices and collective action have never been more needed than right now.

    Every person has a responsibility, and is empowered, to make positive change. In Seattle Public Schools, our dedication to supporting African American and Black boys and young men, is stronger than ever; the lives of our Black students matter. Our staff are committed to this mission and undoing the legacies of racism in our education system. If we do not take this most important moment to live out the values and commitments in our strategic plan, we will have failed.

    We all have to believe in Black Excellence. We have to believe in each of our students. And together, we need to actively build a counternarrative to the racism and bias Black students experience every day. A narrative of love, hope, and commitment. A narrative the recognizes the inherent brilliance and giftedness of our Black youth. We need to be a school system that LOVES Black boys and youth and focuses not on fixing students but disrupting and fixing the racist systems that marginalize and limit them.

    Finally, together we must create a more powerful vision of what our society should be and can be. The recent atrocities we have all witnessed must be the final tipping point towards radical change. To our students of color, particularly our African American and Black youth and community, please know that we see you and we support you. Seattle Public Schools commits to do better by all of you.

    Classrooms across the district are taking time this week to discuss the events that have unfolded in recent weeks and the history leading up to them. We ask for your partnership in continuing these important discussions with young people at home. These are not one-time conversations but must be ongoing learning that each of us courageously engages in.

    Here are some resources for your consideration, to use on your own or with your children:

    Tomorrow, join me on Facebook Live for a discussion about the upcoming engagements around the scenarios of reopening schools. Additional details will also be shared in an email from Public Affairs tomorrow, with more information about The Summer of Learning and virtual graduations ceremonies.


    Denise Juneau