MAYA ANGELOU

For years, our nation has been tending familiar but age-old wounds. We’ve become exhausted by police brutality and acts of violence against African Americans.

On Friday, June 19, we will join our African American community of educators, colleagues, students, families, and friends in celebrating Juneteenth, a 155-year-old commemoration of the abolishment of slavery in the United States. 

On this holiday, we will observe the history, contributions, and achievement of African Americans; continue to speak out against injustice; and reflect on how much growth our nation deserves. 

When we founded our network of schools 20 years ago, we made it our mission to challenge inequality and help close the gap for all students regardless of their zip code, ethnicity, economic background. Simply put, all means all.

In order to close opportunity gaps for students, we’ve infused diversity, equity, and inclusion into our best practices. Too often, African American students don’t see themselves reflected in the educators at the front of their classrooms or the curriculum they engage with. Our schools have worked diligently to close the African-American achievement gaps by developing supports like our annual Legacy Conference, creating a robust college mentorship program, and supporting our students through opportunities such as the Urban Scholars program. We’ve sought to ensure that our students’ accomplishments are celebrated, that their learning has connections to their lives and culture, and most importantly that our schools give students a sense of belonging.

There’s no question that our nation's history is knotted with inequalities. If we hope to make good on our country's promise of liberty, justice and equality for all, we must confront injustice, challenge unconscious bias, and ensure that every single student has access to an education that will prepare them for success in college, leadership, and life. 

Resources

Listen to this powerful podcast episode on one writer who worked diligently to depict the history behind Juneteenth to a national audience. 

We also recommend this learning resource and this one, both from tolerance.org to grasp the history on the nation’s oldest commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States.