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    Racial & Educational Justice at Sacajawea
    Posted on 01/26/2021
    BLM

    February, 2021

    Black Lives Matter at School week

    This week we’re commemorating Black Lives Matter at School week. Here’s a link to the district announcement about this. At Sacajawea, we are using the district’s Black Lives Matter at Schools Week Educator Resource Guide along with materials put together by the Seattle Education Association and the Department of Racial Equity Advancement as we teach to our students about this important movement. 
     
    This is part of our ongoing work to be a school that reflects Educational Just for All.  Throughout the year, we try to highlight people of color in ways that help each student to see people like him or her in our history, our heroes, our learning materials and books, and everyday life. In addition, this year the Parent Racial Equity Team is leading the community in the Black Lives Matter year of purpose, and the Staff Racial Equity Team is leading staff with some of the same materials. We are a learning community, committed to teaching our students to think critically, act kindly, and value equity.

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    A letter from Principal Friesen:

    June 2, 2020

    Dear Sacajawea Community,

    A few months ago, Sacajawea adopted new Mission and Vision statements - Our Mission:  Teach Every student with kindness, equity, and empathy. Our Vision:  Educational Justice for All.  These statements have become even more important in the wake of recent injustice and violence.  This violence, in particular the continuing attacks on Black community members, are a reason for us to strive even more strongly to these commitments.

    We are committed to doing more than talking, but to translate our feelings of grief, anger, and injustice into actions that support our Black community and people of color by working to actively undo the systemic bias and institutional racism that exists throughout our society and education system.

    We will continue to do this through our focus on Racial Equity, including culturally responsive teaching practices and professional development; making our environment welcoming to everyone who comes through our doors; addressing bias in our discipline and teaching practices; continuing to build our learning resources in ways that honor diversity and inclusivity; and teaching our students to value all people, and to understand and respond to injustices. 

    Sacajawea Elementary is unapologetically focused on supporting our African American and Black students, and all our students of color, and creating a school where every child is seen, loved, academically challenged, and supported. We are committed to becoming an antidote to a culture and society that has yet to honor and cherish our Black community members and families of color.

    We are dedicated to teaching the whole of our past and helping our children see that they are the agents of change for the future.  This week, teachers are using their online meetings to talk to students about these events in age-appropriate ways.  Students have many feelings and questions, and we want to help them through this situation.  At the end of this letter, I have included some resources for discussing this with your children at home.  Please don’t hesitate to reach out to your child’s teacher or me with your thoughts, questions, and concerns.

    As a community, we need to band together and support those who are hurting during this time.  Even though we are physically distanced right now, I hope we will all find ways to reach out to neighbors, community members, and loved ones with a little extra love and caring right now.

    With much love, and in partnership,

    Rachel

    A message from our PTA and Parent Equity Team:

    June 1, 2020

    Dear Sacajawea Community --

    The violence and social turmoil of the past week are heavy on our minds, and it is clear that racial equity is as important as ever in our school, community, and country. As a PTA, we are unwavering in our resolve for racial equity and in our support for all our families.
     
    There is much more that can and will be said, but as a PTA, we will double-down on our commitment to equity, and importantly, toward undoing racism. We must all work collectively to foster an anti-racism environment and to raise anti-racist children.

    We also know that our community members are not all experiencing this moment in the same way. If you need extra support of any kind, please reach out to a member of our racial equity team (equity@sacpta.org) for whatever you might need.
     
    To our families of color, particularly our black families we say: You are seen, you are heard, and you are loved.

    To our white families we say: Understanding privilege, discussing whiteness and racial bias may be uncomfortable, but it is necessary work. We welcome these conversations as we strive together against racial injustice and racism. 

    There is more we can do as a PTA and a community, and we will continue our commitment to anti-racism at Sacajawea. For now, the Parent Racial Equity Team has gathered together some resources to help parents talk to their kids about the protests and racism. These articles will provide a place to start:

    How to talk to your children about protests and racism:
    https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/01/health/protests-racism-talk-to-children-wellness/index.html
     
    Talking to children after racial incidents:
    https://www.gse.upenn.edu/news/talking-children-after-racial-incidents
     
    Talking to kids about racism in the media:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHMrJUZ7t6Y&app=desktop
     
    A great list of additional resources:
    https://centerracialjustice.org/resources/resources-for-talking-about-race-racism-and-racialized-violence-with-kids 
     
    In solidarity,
    The Sacajawea PTA and Parent Racial Equity Team