Dear UCHS Community,
While our country and community has had real challenges facing the loss of a student, the pandemic crisis, and inequities that continue to plague our society, it has become increasingly clear that our students and families are facing unprecedented stress and anxiety. Many parents and caregivers are struggling to find ways to educate and talk with their children. Many of us are experiencing difficult circumstances and also grappling with a whirlwind of emotions.
The death of George Floyd and the recent events of civil unrest across our city, state, and nation magnify the immediate need for strong equity work in schools and districts. University City High School has two programs in place to allow for students to provide voice to social justice topics. These are the Principal Forum Group and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Just this last February over 40 students were trained to provide guidance and support for staff and students dealing with topics involving bias and discrimination. Over the last three weeks some Principal Forum students and ADL students came together to talk about a host of topics impacting our community and society. Together we’ve had some real authentic conversations about privilege, power, and race.
And while the school year has ended, our primary goal is to continue to ensure your children, our students, become well-educated leaders of our society, leaders who are aware of and understand the dynamics causing the civil unrest we see today. To that end, we’ve gathered resources (listed below) that you may choose to use to help facilitate conversations. In addition, please watch Superintendent Marten’s statement on teaching students about injustice.
As educators, we have the unique opportunity to listen to and learn from our students, understand their perspectives, honor their lived experiences, and support them in figuring how they share their voices to engage in this national conversation. Please know that I continue to be dedicated to addressing issues of racism across the country, city, and in schools. We are committed to a world where we honor our diversities, champion uniqueness, and recognize that all are welcomed and must be equally treated. This has to be the standard rather than the exception.
In talking to our students, it is clear education has a strong role in bringing people together for what is right and just. Our young people are our hope. We stand in solidarity with them in wanting equality and fairness for black Americans and for all.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” -Martin Luther King
Jeff Olivero, Principal, UCHS