Outgoing School Superintendent Dr Mark Wenzel says that "continued injustice pervades our country," and that acts such as recent killings at the hands of police lead to a "sense of grief, despair and hopelessness."
Wenzel's statement to the community comes as the Anacortes School Board prepares to adopt a new equity policy on June 11.
Here is the full statement from Dr. Wenzel, who leaves as Anacortes School Superintendent this summer.
Dear Students, Staff, Families and Community,
Our new equity policy calls on us to stand up when we see inequity. Now is the time to do so.
The recent killings of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd once again underscore the deep-rooted racism and harm that communities of color experience every day.
These acts spotlight the continued injustice that pervades our country. They lead to a sense of grief, despair and hopelessness.
To students, families, and communities of color in Anacortes and beyond, we see you, we respect you, we support you. We understand that for 40 million African Americans, these stories are traumatizing and heartbreaking.
We know that we cannot achieve equity without a direct confrontation with inequity. And we cannot achieve racial equity without a direct confrontation with interpersonal, institutional and structural racism.
To our white students, families and community, we urge you to become an ally. Psychologist and author Beverly Tatum says: “White children are often racially isolated as a consequence of segregated schools and neighborhoods, and consequently limited in their understanding of people different from themselves. White parents who want to interrupt the cycle of racism must learn to talk to their children about it and model their own anti-racist activity.”
USA Today published a thoughtful piece on how to talk to your kids about racism, based on an interview with Beverly Tatum and psychologist Erlanger Turner. I encourage you to read it and discuss it with friends and family.
The Anacortes School District commits to asking hard questions of how we hold ourselves accountable for dismantling the systems that enable racism, bigotry and hate.
In the meantime, we want to support the immediate needs of our students with school and community resources. Please reach out to your teacher, school counselor, principal, or another trusted adult if you need support.
Superintendent Mark Wenzel