Public Proclamation:9R Strive for Racial Justice
9R has a long history of inequity and attempts to address it have not been successful. It’s time for 9R to commit to racial equity by issuing the proclamation below. We, the undersigned, ask 9R to adopt this proclamation and publicly commit to racial equity at all levels.
Durango School District 9R Strives for Racial Justice
Durango School District 9R strives to be a diverse, inclusive community and a place where all students, staff, and family members, especially people of color, feel valued, safe, and welcome. We acknowledge that, as the 9R Board of Education, we must proactively take a leadership role in helping Durango to continually strive toward antiracism. To do this requires work that is symbolic, systemic, and ongoing.
From the symbolic perspective, we will add a symbol of 9R’s commitment to racial equity by displaying the words “Durango School District 9R Stands with Black Lives” prominently next to our “Featured Stories,” on the 9R homepage and throughout our Administrative offices. The strength and commitment behind the message come from our values as a publicly-funded school district that is responsive, approachable, good at listening, welcomes participation and involvement, is accountable, and is fair to all stakeholders.
From a systemic point of view, we must strive to more deeply understand and appreciate the racist and often obscured history of Durango, La Plata County and our entire country. This has led to many current-day disparities in education, health and safety, job attainment, income and wealth, housing and healthcare, disproportionate incarceration rates for people of color, and other systems of injustice. Durango School District 9R further recognizes the existence of white privilege, meaning the systemic advantages that white people have relative to people of color and the role it often plays in the creation of systems and policies that favor white people and that disadvantage people of color. As leaders of within the City of Durango, and caretakers of its youth, we are committed to leading and facilitating positive change at the systemic level within the school district.
We acknowledge that we are beginning a journey towards anti-racism as a city, community, and school district. To that end, Durango School District 9R rededicates itself to listening, learning, and acting to advance racial equity. Racism is not welcome in Durango School District 9R. The work to ensure an equitable education will be ongoing, and we, as a School Board, will play an important role in this process. As listening opportunities and public meetings are scheduled, we will list them on our website and broadcast them in our school newsletters and other publications.
As part of our commitment to immediately begin this process, we will also include the following official land acknowledgement on our homepage to recognize the Indigenous peoples whose land our schools are built on.
The Durango 9R School District acknowledges, with respect, that the land we are on today is the traditional and ancestral lands and territories of the Nuchu (Ute), Apache, the Pueblos, Hopi, Suni, and the Diné nations. This region was also a site of trade, gathering and healing for numerous other Native tribes. We recognize the Indigenous peoples as original stewards of this land and all the relatives within it. As these words of acknowledgement are read, spoken, and heard, the ties Nations have to their traditional homelands are renewed and reaffirmed.
We accept that our mission must encompass access to education and inclusion. This acknowledgment is the education and inclusion we must practice in recognizing our institutional history, responsibility and commitment.