Rabbi Randy Kafka

Cultural Competence and Anti-Racism in Our Schools

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Rabbi Randy Kafka
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The town of Sharon, like countless other towns, has struggled this past year not only with the pandemic but also with rising evidence of systemic racism within a community which prides itself on its diversity. We believe that a commitment to dismantling racism – particularly in our school system – will contribute to the academic and social success of all our children. In the 21st century, cultural competence – the ability to work effectively cross-culturally – is a necessity, not only for students but for the community as a whole.

We the undersigned commit ourselves to take action and support efforts to remedy systemic inequities in the Sharon public school system. In the words of political scientist Robert Putnam, we believe that “all kids are our kids.” Whether or not we personally have children in the school system, we commit to speaking up and speaking out for diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice for all our children.

We intend to hold elected officials – and in particular School Committee members – accountable to serving the academic, social and emotional needs of all our children. To that end, we urge every member of and candidate for School Committee to publicly commit to:

  • supporting programs to develop the cultural competence of students, staff, administrators, parents, town employees and residents
  • supporting curriculum changes that both include and celebrate the work of authors, historians, scientists, and change-makers worldwide, particularly Black, Asian, Indian, Native American, and people of color; as well as other curriculum changes recommended by school administrators, teachers, and state guidelines
  • prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion in hiring
  • supporting anti-racism efforts in the schools (particularly student- and teacher-initiated)
  • supporting as well as participating in ongoing anti-racism training for all school personnel and elected school committee members
  • closing the opportunity gap with the understanding that our children have different starting points, insuring that all children have access to a rigorous and excellent education

NOTE: Sharon School Committee Candidates Forum April 11 @ 7:00pm on Zoom. We will be asking them to respond to this petition.

*Sharon Interfaith Action: loving our neighbors and pursuing justice

Sharon Interfaith Action (SIA) is a community organizing group confronting local issues of racial and economic justice. We partner with Brockton Interfaith Community (BIC), mobilizing the power of our faith communities to manifest the world as it should be. Our work is grounded in the development of loving relationships, and focused on holding public officials accountable to the needs of the entire community.

(Please be aware: The request you will receive for a donation is from the iPetition app, NOT from Sharon Interfaith Action!)

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