Greetings Canadian Valley Community,
As I’ve pondered how to address the issue over the last two weeks, I realized the topic of racism, violence and injustice makes me uncomfortable, sad and sick to my stomach. I also recognized those feelings are exactly the reason I need to write this message.
I am extremely saddened by the senseless death of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and countless other killings of unarmed black people who have needlessly lost their lives due to racist violence and an inequitable justice system. All of these deaths are inexcusable and preventable. Black lives matter and we need to acknowledge this clearly and explicitly.
As I watched the citizens across our country who are protesting and holding community events calling for justice, I found myself thinking about the importance of relationships and human connections, which are immeasurable. We connect with each other on a daily basis everywhere we go. These connections are the foundation of relationships, learning, performance and overall well-being. Connections help to build people up and help them feel like they belong. As human beings the connections we make are imperative for letting others know they are safe, worthy, valuable and respected.
We have the power to step up and not stand for racist actions. We have the power to speak out against racist acts. We have the power to focus on love, acceptance, safety, and equality for all people. We all have the opportunity to be proactive and learn about the experiences, backgrounds and historical events of others to address the systemic issues of oppression and racism. Learning about different perspectives will help us to understand and demonstrate empathy and equality for all. All of our students regardless of their race need us to exhibit love, acceptance, safety and equality. Our words, actions or inactions are an example to all. We can no longer be neutral or silent.
I am proud that at Canadian Valley, over the last few years, we have focused on discrimination through unconscious bias training and other professional development presentations. All presentations encouraged us to examine our conscious and unconscious beliefs, prejudices and biases. They also inspired us to stand up for what’s right, challenge the wrongs, be a good role model, and lead with love and acceptance.
We all have to be a part of the solution. Through our actions and attitudes, we will stand up for equality for all people no matter their race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual identity and orientation, disability, religion, national origin, etc., to ensure everyone feels safe, accepted, valued, respected, and loved. This is how we can begin to impact and change the racism and other “isms” that exists today.
In closing, Mahatma Gandhi leads us wisely…
“Your beliefs become your thoughts, Your thoughts become your words, Your words become your actions, Your actions become your habits, Your habits become your values, Your values become your destiny.” ― Mahatma Gandhi.
With love, acceptance and equality for all,
Dr. Gayla Lutts, Superintendent