This template letter has been written and shared kindly by Amina Bana, KS2 primary teacher. Please follow her on Twitter: @itsamow and continue to support the work of Black educators.
Dear respective colleagues,
This past week has been a challenging one for many of us as our world bore witness to the aftermath of the tragic and unlawful death of George Floyd- an African American man who lost his life at the hands of a white police officer. With Black Lives Matter protests now being seen in countries and cities around the world, it is clear that there is a far deeper, more important message rising up to the surface. What Black people have been; and still continue to experience the world over, is that they are victims to the systemic racism that continues to permeate many countries across the globe.
It is no longer enough to label these events as the globalisation of a specific American racial issue. We know that here in the UK, systemic racism persists in our schools, offices, court systems, police departments, and elsewhere. Studies have shown that people in Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups in 21st-century Britain, are consistently more likely to face negative everyday experiences in various settings, many dealing with the terror, confusion and violence these experiences bring.
For many of us, our own personal experiences mean we know first-hand the impact racism can have on us as individuals, on our families and friends, and on our wider society. For all of us, our work and practice signify our commitment to fight inequity, inequality and injustice in all its forms. Recent events do not dissuade or alter our course of action, in fact it will only make us more firm in our cause.
As classroom practitioners we need to be conscious of our vital role in addressing this in the classroom for the safety of our children and the long-term well-being of our communities. We share the pain felt in the United States after the death of George Floyd and stand with our black communities and those who acknowledge our shared humanity. As we empathise with predicaments our fellow black educators and pupils face, we remind ourselves of our mission statement:
[INSERT SCHOOL/INSTITUTION MISSION STATEMENT/ANTI-RACISM POLICY HERE]
Let us use this moment in time to not only empathise with our fellow African American citizens across the pond but to also reflect on our own beliefs, our unconscious racial biases and our duty of care to our children. As a proud team made up of diverse members, let us reject any forms of complacency in the face of injustice to truly move forward in solidarity and ally-ship and build a better world for all. As we remain in lockdown for the time being and do our part in slowing down the spread of COVID-19, we stand together in solidarity with an open heart and know that together, we will get through this.
“Our human compassion binds us – the one to the other – not in pity or patronisingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.” Nelson Mandela