With heavy hearts we bear witness to the grief and anger in our community, locally and nationally. In order to confront this pain, we must name its root cause. We recognize that the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Aubrey, Mike Ramos, and too many others are the product of systemic racism. We recognize that systemic racism is also at the root of the disproportionate infection rate and loss of life from COVID-19 in communities of color, in Austin and across the United States. We recognize this truth, and we ache with our community.GSA recognizes the suffering and loss of the Black community. We care about your wellbeing and affirm your humanity. We know that none of us can be whole until everyone’s humanity is upheld. We stand by those whom the system has oppressed.GSA recognizes its privilege as a mostly white community. We recommit to examining our actions that perpetuate injustice. In our institution, that starts with acknowledging what we don’t know, listening to those who do, and taking action that is authentic for our community. This is how we build on the work we have been doing to educate, unify, and invigorate all parts of our community around this vital work. We know that our efforts are imperfect, and we also know that they are essential.We find hope in our work together. We believe that the “well rounded education” we value must include learning about race, racism, and social justice. We believe that our growth as an institution depends on our growth as individuals, and on our willingness to connect with, support, and galvanize each other. We believe that the empowerment we seek for our students begins with acknowledging the pain in our community and naming its root cause.We know that together, in this moment, and in every moment following, we are called to make a difference. Dismantling systems of oppression requires us to stand up, to speak up, and to step forward in solidarity and sisterhood.
Dr. Lorna Torrado, PhD
Diversity and Social and Emotional Learning Director
Tricia Yost, Chair
GSA Board of Trustees
Recommended resources and GSA offerings:
- This Book Is Antiracist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do the Work – Tiffany Jewell (children and young adults)
- Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You – Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds (young adults)
- CNN and Sesame Street will host Coming Together: Standing Up to Racism this Saturday, June 6 at 10 AM
- As they have for the past three years, all GSA middle school students participate in a full-day diversity workshop experience prior to the start of the school year.
- Starting next week we will be discussing the book How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi. Following the SEED pedagogy, we will assign a few chapters at a time and then come together, via Zoom, to share our thoughts and reflections. If you are interested, send an email to Lorna Torrado. If purchasing the book is not available to you, let us know and we’ll get you a copy. (GSA faculty and staff have also been invited to participate in a parallel summer book group to discuss this book.)
- So You Want to Talk about Race by Iljeoma Oluo
- Seeing White podcast
- GSA Parent Summer Book Group – led by GSA Diversity Director and SEED National Staff Lorna Torrado
- Talking About Race – National Museum of African American History and Culture