From grief and rage to action against systemic racism

We of Citizens for Public Schools share an overwhelming grief and rage at the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. These feelings are layered on top of our grief and rage for all those men and women of color before them who have died or been brutalized by police officers. We stand with our Black brothers and sisters and those of every race and creed who are raising their voices, rallying, marching and standing vigil to say, again and again, that Black Lives Matter

We join in the rising chorus of “Not one more!”

And we know that if we are going to make Black Lives Matter once and for all, we must address the systemic racism and white supremacy that infects and sickens all our institutions. We support demands and efforts to end police brutality and the injustices in the criminal justice system that result in wholesale warehousing of Black men and women in our prisons. 

Systemic racism in our schools is manifested in crippling inequities in funding and opportunities to learn. It is reinforced by high-stakes standardized testing and punitive discipline practices, which blame students for the failures of our schools and fuel the school-to-prison pipeline. Students of color are more likely to attend schools where police officers are stationed. Police do not belong in our schools and should be removed, following the lead of Minneapolis. Eurocentric curricula devalue the contributions of people of color and undermine the development of a truly inclusive environment where the worth and talent of all students and teachers are respected regardless of race or ethnicity. The COVID-19 pandemic has compounded these and other inequities, including those related to access to food and housing security as well as broadband internet and home computers.

Since CPS’s founding in 1982, we have fought for racial justice and equity in our schools. We have fought against efforts to starve our schools of the resources needed to educate every child through underfunding, privatization, and racially unjust test-and-punish accountability policies. 

We pledge to turn our rage and grief into fuel for all the actions we can take to make Black Lives Matter a reality and not just a slogan, in our schools and throughout our society.