As an elected official, I expect to receive feedback from those who are supportive of my efforts, and from those who are critical. I take the words of the Black Parents Workshop to heart in terms of their perceptions of my commitment and work toward promoting – and achieving – equity in our district. I hope that some of important steps that have been implemented during my tenure on the Board of Education - like passing the Access & Equity policy, implementing restorative practices, aligning budgets to need and anti-bias training for staff - speak to my commitment and work.
I personally feel it’s my obligation as a Board member to be present and engaged with the community. This includes having a presence on social media, where more casual and ad hoc discussions take place. Sometimes I just read, and other times I provide information, updates, context or my personal opinions. I do not speak for the Board of Education as a body.
It is of great concern to me that a post I made attempting to provide context and data around teachers of color has led to a Public Relations statement assailing my motives and character. I fear actions like will scare people off from engaging with each other, discourage uncomfortable discussions that we need to have as a community, and that the looming specter of negative media attention and litigation will continue to distract us from the critical work that needs to be done. I want to feel safe engaging publicly without being misrepresented in the media – and I want others to feel safe also.
My hope, for myself and for the community I was elected to serve, is that we can respect each other’s viewpoints, engage in healthy discourse and still be able to productively partner in the important work toward equity for all our students. I believe we model this on the Board of Education, and I hope that this incident does not negatively reflect on my colleagues. I’m disappointed that a press release is the response to what should be ongoing dialogue (and action) in service of our children. I’ve reached out to Mr. Fields as the representative of The Black Parents Workshop. At present, there is little interest on his part for partnership, but I remain hopeful that this will change. Ultimately, I believe we are committed to a common goal.