Family Equity and Inclusion Committee at Genesee Hill and Parent Teacher Association Preamble to Anti-Racism Resolution:
At Genesee Hill Elementary we acknowledge that systemic racism against Black, Brown and other people of color are tightly woven into the American culture as well as the rest of the world. We are committed and take full responsibility to ensure that our school does not succumb to the unjust practices of racism that have systematically become covert in our day to day lives. We stand together and pledge our solidarity to uphold the undeniable right to exist and be seen in this world as a human first.
We recognize that differences of skin color, ethnicity, and race make us unique, interesting, loveable and friendly, and seek to better understand those differences. We will not subscribe to the ignorant and dangerous thought process of “color blindness” which relies on the concept that race-based differences don’t matter, and ignores the realities of systemic racism. We understand that there is no such thing as being “racially neutral”. In order to counter the effects of systemic racism, we must be actively anti-racist. We understand that anti-racism strategies need to be implemented across the full range of our school’s activities in order to have an impact.
We will continue to support each other in combating racism in all forms of degradation. The journey to dismantle systemic racism will be ongoing. Victories big and small will be won, but for total change to happen we must make a stand to begin to unravel and eradicate the centuries of racist behavior within our country, state, city and neighborhoods before we can effectively eradicate it from our school systems.
Anti-Racism Resolution – Genesee Hill Elementary School –
The Genesee Hill Elementary School Community is a group of families, caregivers, and educators, and we have been called to action. Resolutions and policies are the way that community groups, including PTAs, can answer that call. Our neutrality is not enough, we need to be anti-racist, and use our collective power in ways that will end systemic racism. We are committed to valuing and protecting the lives of our Black, Brown and Indigenous children and all children furthest from educational justice. We recognize that this resolution is aspirational. Anti-racist work is process and action-based and we approach it with a growth mindset.
Whereas there is no such thing as being racially “neutral”. In order to counter the effects of systemic racism, we must be actively anti-racist. We understand that anti-racism strategies need to be implemented across the full range of our school’s activities in order to have an impact.
Whereas white supremacy culture is deeply embedded in every aspect of our community. Systemic racism is perpetuated in our school involving everything from academics (content, access, achievement, assessment, etc) to patterns of discipline to professional development, to leadership practices. (1)
Whereas our work to dismantle white supremacy culture is ongoing and will never be complete.
Whereas Seattle Public Schools, through Seattle Excellence, are “working to dramatically improve academic and life outcomes for students of color by disrupting the legacies of racism in our educational system.” (2)
Whereas Black Lives Matter is not a political movement but a moral “affirmation of the humanity of our students and of our communities.” (3)
Whereas the Seattle Public School Board has endorsed the Black Lives Matter at School movement for the past three years. (4)
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT
Resolved, that that the Genesee Hill Elementary School Community, inclusive of its teachers, staff, and PTA members, commits to being an antiracist organization with the following remedies:
1. We will educate all school staff and families on issues related to antiracism by providing them with relevant resources with continued engagement and intent for transformation.
2. We will support our school faculty and staff in the implementation of developmentally appropriate anti-racist curriculum and the necessary teacher trainings that address this. This includes, and is not limited to, evaluating our practice through the “Characteristics of White Supremacy Culture” (schoolwide and individually).
3. We will review and revise policies and procedures including how we engage community in leadership opportunities and recruit/nominate/elect parents to PTA leadership and other volunteer roles.
4. We will continually review and revise policies and procedures for staff leadership roles. Our professional culture must continually strive to ensure that leadership representation reflects antiracist work and engages all staff voices.
5. We will actively work to center the voices of color – students, families, and staff- and continue to listen, learn, and inform ourselves about ways in which structural racism and implicit biases affect our school community including, but not limited to: listening conferences, prioritize literature, guest speakers, field trips, etc. that center people of color.
6. We will support each other in examining and recognizing the impact of “Characteristics of White Supremacy Culture”: Perfectionism, Sense of Urgency, Defensiveness, Quantity Over Quality, Worship of the Written Word, Paternalism, Either/Or Thinking, Power Hoarding, Fear of Open Conflict, Individualism, Progress is Bigger, More, Objectivity, Right to Comfort
7. We will support and uphold the principles of Black Lives Matter at our school through the work of our staff, our PTA and our school families. (5)
1. Jones, K., & Okun, T. (n.d.). Dismantling racism: A workbook for social change groups. Amherst, MA: Peace Development Fund. Retrieved September 22, 2020, from https://www.thc.texas.gov/public/upload/preserve/museums/files/White_Supremacy_Culture.pdf
2. S. (n.d.). Seattle Excellence- Seattle Public Schools. Retrieved September 22, 2020, from https://www.seattleschools.org/district/district_quick_facts/strategic_plan
3. Gibbs-Bowling, N., Manning, M., & Campbell, A. (2020, July 5). Black Lives Matter Message Belongs in Our Schools. Seattle Times, p. 1.
4. Hersey, B., Rivera-Smith, L., & DeWolf, Z. (2020, January 22). School Board Action Report. Retrieved September 22, 2020, from https://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/School%20Board/19-20%20agendas/January%2022/A03_20200122_Resolution%202019-20-23%20Black%20Lives%20Matter%20at%20School%20Week.pdf
5. BLM Guiding Principles. (n.d.). Retrieved September 22, 2020, from https://www.blmla.org/guiding-principles
Racism: a belief that race is a fundamental determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race. (Merriam Webster Dictionary)
Anti-Racism: “ The opposite of racist isn’t ‘not racist.’ It is ‘anti-racist.’ What’s the difference? One endorses either the idea of racial hierarchy as a racist, or racial equality as an anti-racist. One either believes problems are rooted in groups of people, as a racist, or locates the roots of problems in power and policies, as an anti-racist. One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequalities, as an anti-racist. There is no in-between safe space of ‘not racist.’” Ibram X. Kendi, How to be an Antiracist.
Systemic Racism: Racism that is reinforced and perpetuated by established institutions or systems. The structural relationships and interdependencies in these institutions have been shaped by history, culture, ideology, and polices that perpetuate prejudice and racism.
ADOPTED by Genesee Hill Elementary School PTA at a special open general membership meeting thereof, held October 26, 2020.
PTA Co-Presidents: Michelle Comazetto & Scot Duffield