June 10, 2020 District 200 Board of Education Public Comment
Dear Board of Education,
My name is Mary Yeboah and I am a parent of four children in the district. As I reflect on the current national and global protests against police brutality and racial injustice spurred by the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, I'm reminded again of the significance of understanding the long history of racial injustice in this country that got us to where we are now.
District 200 is set within the context of a racist public education system that since its inception has never provided quality and equitable education to Black children. I am explicitly addressing anti-black racism here not to the exclusion of other forms of marginalization and oppression, but to highlight the specific ways longstanding ideas of racial superiority and inferiority are upheld as status quo.
As elected officials tasked with leading the district toward equitable educational experiences and outcomes for all students, I have two tangible and urgent requests. Specifically as an all white board, I ask that you please 1. commit to examining racial bias and white privilege and to building these introspective practices into the fabric of your governance structures, recognizing the extent to which racialized assumptions inform perspectives, policies, and decision making and 2. commit to reading about the history of race, justice, and public education in this country. Ample resources are available for this.
The current state of District 200, race-based disparities, and equity and proactive practices cannot be understood outside of the historic and ongoing white supremacist context. Educational leaders at all levels must look back in order to move forward.
As you learn, I ask that you adopt an explicitly anti-racist leadership identity, in which you make informed decisions that contribute to dismantling white supremacy. Diversity efforts that lack a commitment to anti-racism often perpetuate racist systems. We have not and will not accomplish our mission to inspire, educate, challenge, and support all students to reach their highest levels of learning and personal development until 400 years of white supremacy and racial injustice are confronted.
Finally, I ask that you communicate with the members of the District 200 community how you intend to build racial bias introspection and accountability into your work and which resources you choose to take up to guide your anti-racist leadership practices. Additionally, if you reject this request, please make public your rationale for doing so.