We join the nation in grieving the death of George Floyd, yet another reminder that the lives of Black people in this country are undervalued. Peaceful protesters are responding by calling for justice in nearly every major city. Know that we are fighting alongside you.

We are fighting for a public education system that truly values Black children — one that gives them meaningful access to high-quality learning at the earliest ages and throughout their education careers, that nurtures them by providing school leaders and teachers who look like them and have high expectations for them, and that funds their schools fairly.

We are fighting for a higher education system that opens its doors wide to Black students, provides the supports Black students need to graduate, and one where Black students can fully participate without facing financial ruin. We are also fighting for a system that does not deny those who are impacted by the criminal justice system the chance to transform their lives by way of a high-quality education.

The fight for equity and justice is steeped in the history of the Civil Rights Movement, of the activists and advocates who have come before us. It is long lasting. Systemic racism is deeply woven into the fabric of our nation, and Black Americans have suffered under the weight of racist institutional policies permeating our education system, housing market, financial market, healthcare system, hiring practices, and our justice system.

Thus, as we add another name to the long list of those we have lost at the hands of those charged to “serve and protect,” we allow ourselves a moment to breathe, which was not afforded to Floyd. We confront the wide range of emotions that we are feeling, whether it’s anger, sadness, frustration, exhaustion, or despair. In this moment and moving forward, it is important to acknowledge those emotions. Then we must render them into a commitment to act and advocate for a more just America.

Together, we can change the policies, practices, and beliefs to shift the appropriate power structures needed to truly realize equity and justice.

We are with you.

Yours in the fight,
The Education Trust

Self-Advocacy or Defiance in Protests? Depends: Are You White or Black?

“Please, I can’t breathe.”

Are these words of “resistance,” or are they a man’s simple plea to stay alive? In seven minutes, George Floyd became yet another Black man who has died at the hands of police. In the ensuing protests this week, consisting of mostly people of color (wearing masks to protect against COVID-19), police used tear gas to disperse the crowd clamoring for justice.