The ERS team is saddened and appalled by the needless, horrific murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and countless other Black Americans. We recognize the pain caused in communities around the country, especially for the school districts we partner with, who serve many of our nation’s Black students and their families, and for the Black leaders of those districts.
We also recognize that words are not enough — actions matter. We must confront the fact that, across our country, Black people have faced a history of racism, systemic oppression, and discriminatory policies. Because of this, schools serving students of color too often do not have the resources and are not organized in ways that disrupt these inequities. Equity in our country must start with our nation’s children if we are going to make lasting change. The status quo is not working. It’s not OK that most children’s educational opportunities are determined by birth. Amid our current crises, we sense a shift in understanding that provides an opportunity to finally get real about transforming educational systems.
As an organization, we still have so much to learn about the continuing impact of the forces of systemic racism and oppression that flow throughout our country and institutions, and our role in becoming a more equitable organization and creating a more just society. And we know that those of us who are not Black will never fully understand the racism that Black people in America feel every day.
We stand with the Black Lives Matter movement by committing to listen, pay attention, speak out, and act in pursuit of the disruption and dismantling of systemic racism and oppression — especially in education — and to hold ourselves and each other accountable in the process. We want to help students learn, thrive, and lead. But doing that means reimagining and reconstructing the very system they’ll grow up in.
We invite district leaders, school leaders, teachers, non-profit leaders, philanthropists, advocates, education media, students, families, or any other members of our community to share feedback, suggestions, resources or other thoughts on how you are experiencing the recent events in our country and what is on your mind concerning where to go from here and how we can be most supportive.
In pursuit of justice,
The ERS Leadership Team