June 2, 2020
Dear Colleagues,
I write this message compelled by the strong sense of responsibility we have as school leaders to respond to ongoing acts of racism that have continually threatened the moral fabric of our country. The recent senseless deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade are now added to a list of too many other wrongful deaths of Black Americans, sparking national protests and riots. We find ourselves at another tipping point in the evolution of our nation’s history.
During tumultuous times our schools are places where young people can seek insight, gain perspective, find hope and develop the tools required to build upon the promise of the future. Now is a time for us to renew our commitment to social justice and equip this generation of young people with the knowledge, and experiences that prepare them to lead America forward. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. asserted that social justice and progress are the best guarantors of peace. Now is our opportunity to join with other social institutions to promote progress and to achieve peace.
As school leaders, we must continue to ensure that our schools are places where children of all races, ethnicities, religions, sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or gender expression, can be their authentic selves…places where they can first and foremost be safe and survive, and also thrive. We have the ability to make sure that every day in each of our classrooms, hallways, fields and stages students understand and celebrate all that we share, along with the differences that make our world that much more interesting and rich.
Finally, we must remain steadfast in fulfilling our duty to prepare an informed, empowered electorate that will leverage the power of our Constitution to achieve the promise of our Bill of Rights. While we have made strides, there is still a long way to go. Education remains the portal to realizing the American Dream, and only with strong public schools can we assure its equal access.
Our hope lies in the strength of our communities. Together we can resolve to end hatred within our sphere of influence. Our children are counting on each of us to lead the way to ensure a safe and peaceful life that everyone and every community deserves.
At ESSAA we are here to support you as leaders in the communities you serve. Your work is our work, we are inspired by all you do and all you aspire to achieve.
Respectfully yours,
Carol Conklin-Spillane
President, ESSAA