Knowledge is a process of piling up facts; wisdom lies in their simplification.
– Dr. Martin Luther King
The facts have been piling up for many years… we have plenty of knowledge that Black Americans and people of color have suffered unjustly. The recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery are tragic reminders of things we already knew. And yet, we haven’t found the collective wisdom to acknowledge our societal failures and fully commit to systemic change. The solutions may be complex, but understanding the core problem is not.
Sometimes it’s hard to know how to begin. Nonetheless, as individuals and organizations we need to step forward so we can all move forward. As I struggle to make sense of the past and the present, I was struck by the powerful words of Kali Ladd, the executive director of KairosPDX, a charter school in Portland, Oregon dedicated to diversity, equity, and closing the achievement gap. I would encourage you to listen to her message which is at once forceful and hopeful.
We all need to find our own way to contribute to dismantling the systems and institutions that create and perpetuate inequity. As an organization we will ask, invite, and answer hard questions in order to better align our work with this goal. While critical, these inquiries are just a beginning. We will listen. We will learn. And we will work to become a positive force for change. I welcome your thoughts and ideas as we step forward.