June 1, 2020
For the last three months, our school communities have been rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic, as has the rest of the world. In the midst of this devastation, we now see our nation roiling in protest and violence as a result of another senseless killing of an African American man at the hands of a white police officer.
News coverage of the protests over the last seven days have at times described the unrest and violence as our country’s ‘new pandemic’ or the ‘latest crisis’ facing our nation. But we know there is nothing new about the systemic and deeply ingrained racism and white privilege that courses through our country’s DNA. COVID-19 has been catastrophic this winter and spring, but the suppression, violence, and killing wrought by white people against black people has been going on, uninterrupted, for the last 400 years. There is nothing new about this pandemic at all.
As a white leader, I feel it is important to speak out about the persistent racial injustices going on in our country, and to stand locked in solidarity with my colleagues of color during this time. As one friend shared with me, the triggering, traumatic symbolism of the white policeman’s knee on the back of George Floyd’s neck was just too much to bear. I hear you, I’m with you, and I’m committed to trying to figure out how to be of some service and make some sort of difference. And also – to look harder introspectively at my own white privilege, and to understand how I may be contributing to the problem, however unwittingly.
At Carney, Sandoe & Associates, we believe that schools serve as one of the most important long-term vehicles for creating real and sustained change with respect to the systemic prejudice and inequity that pervades our American society. We feel enormously fortunate to work with so many of you who share this point of view and work courageously and compassionately on a daily basis with our children to inspire a more equitable and tolerant path forward.
In our CS&A Diversity Mission Statement, we state that “we are committed to the importance of increasing equity, diversity, and inclusion – both within our own organization and among the educational communities with whom we partner.”
Internally, we have worked hard to try to better understand our own implicit biases and how they may impact our work. We’ve tried to more proactively diversify our employee base, both with respect to race and also backgrounds and points of view. We also realize we still have more work to do on these fronts. Later this week we will be gathering virtually as an organization to provide space for those who want to share in light of what’s been happening, and also to strategize about how we may further support our school communities in their DEI work.
Externally, we’re proud of our partnership with so many of you in working to create more equitable and inclusive communities, and the past few years we have felt inspired by some of the important progress we have seen in our schools. We also know there is still a very long road ahead, and we aspire to be more aggressive in helping schools diversify their faculties and in serving as a resource for facilitation, learning, and inclusive community-building.
Thank you to my intrepid colleagues who strive to keep us all supported and in community with one another during this grueling and especially emotional time. And thank you to all of you in the world of education who continue to inspire our children, even as you manage your own upended, seemingly impossible new circumstances. We care for all of you, we care for our country, and we remain committed to standing together as we move forward.
With love and gratitude,
Carney, Sandoe & Associates