Elyssa Sullivan 0

Support for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Teachers in Webster Groves

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We the undersigned are writing to express our gratitude and direct support for you, the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) faculty and staff of the Webster Groves School District.

This has been a difficult start to the school year, and as students are slowly heading back into classrooms, we acknowledge that we haven't been able to build the rapport with you that we would have wished. We hope this letter can be a conduit to that end.

We want to acknowledge that we see and believe that you likely experience:

  1. Daily microaggressions
  2. Fewer communications of direct support than you deserve
  3. Frequent, targeted questioning designed to undermine your authority
  4. Tokenism
  5. Lack of compensation and acknowledgment for the additional mentoring you do
  6. Direct expressions of racial violence

We are so sorry that you have to deal with these results of the racist climate we perpetuate--a climate that has likely contributed to some faculty choosing to work elsewhere. We wish none of this was true. And also, we recognize that simply wishing will not make it so.

Particular to our white families: we pledge to do the work within our families to identify, disrupt, and correct our own harmful patterns which allow these kinds of racist behaviors to persist. We know that it is important to enact specifically anti-racist teaching and learning within our families so that we can create community that is safe for everyone--most especially you. We will actively seek and pursue varied learning opportunities such as Witnessing Whiteness, ARC's Roots and Branches of White Supremacy, We Stories, and/or study groups we organize to closely examine books such as White Fragility, Stamped from the Beginning, and How to be an Anti-Racist. We will do these things to push ourselves, each other, and our children and families to examine and then change our harmful patterns--so that the damaging outcomes above will be something you no longer have to experience here at our hands.

Additionally, all of us know that not until our policies are designed to show outcome evidence that Black Lives Matter, will we be able to say that all lives matter in our community. Therefore we will all advocate loudly before district leadership and the school board for them to fund and implement anti-racist policy and curriculum changes.

We see that your teaching expertise is critical to the success of our students, schools, and community. We've heard multiple times from different students in various venues that your presence and skill set has been the deciding factor in their successes. Students often call upon the district to further diversify the faculty. It is our job to create the community that BIPOC faculty and staff enjoy working with so that our students' expressed need is brought to fruition.

You make our community and our schools stronger. You are important, seen, valued, and loved for all that you are. You matter more than words can express, and we won't let anyone forget that.

We pledge to hold each other accountable for making actionable changes.

In gratitude and solidarity,

The Parents, Students, Alumni, and Community Members of Webster Groves

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