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Supporting Our Asian-American Community...
Dear LCMSD Community,
This morning, Marin County Superintendent Mary Jane Burke sent educators the email below. LCMSD is aligned with this message. It is our duty as parents and educators to help our children make sense of our world and to be agents of change. Please take a moment to read this important message.
LCMSD Leadership Team
Forward from Mary Jane Burke:
The email that came last Thursday stated, “Presidential Proclamation on Honoring the Victims of the Tragedy in the Atlanta Metropolitan Area”. Once again, we, like schools and public buildings across our country, lower our flags to honor the innocent victims of a senseless shooting. With sorrow in our hearts, we reach out to our Asian-American colleagues and their families, and to the Asian-American families we serve in our schools and programs. We stand with you and offer our love and support.
During this pandemic, some have chosen to scapegoat and irrationally blame others for the many challenges brought by COVID-19. The result has been an alarming increase in hate crimes against Asian Americans throughout our country. Unfortunately, prejudice against Asian Americans is not new. We in Marin only need to journey 15 minutes across the bay to Angel Island to see the poetry inscribed on the detention center walls describing the loneliness and sadness of the Chinese immigrants who were interrogated and detained, sometimes for years, as they sought to enter the United States during a period of legislated harassment and exclusion.
As educators, we must keep our students safe at school and free from targeting and harassment of any kind. As community members, we must have the courage to stand up to hate and intolerance whenever we see it, and, to strive to create a community free from racism and bigotry.
In collaboration with all Marin County school districts, the Marin County Office of Education is taking steps to help with this important work. We have been working closely with the Asian American Alliance of Marin and Dominican University, to review our recently developed Ethnic Studies Course, a new graduation requirement for high school students. The curriculum addresses historical and contemporary impacts, and, legislation and laws aimed at the Asian American community. With knowledge and better understanding, can come a safe, respectful, inclusive environment where all children can live and thrive.
We also remain committed to our work to build the foundation for a meaningful and relevant discussion about race and our own racial consciousness. Our work continues through this spring with the Leader of Leaders for Racial Equity Transformation series helping educators to deconstruct their own biases and prejudices and to learn the skills to challenge prejudice when it arises. These steps are important. However, as we have seen all too clearly over the past several months, there is much more to be done.
Tonight at sunset marks the end of the period where flags will fly at half-staff to honor the victims. In no way will it end the solidarity we have with our Asian-American colleagues, students and families. The real honor will be in the actions we all take, personally and professionally, to make lasting positive change locally, in our state, and in our nation.
Mary Jane Burke (She/Her/Hers)
Marin County Superintendent of Schools