JICS Commitment to Anti-Black Racism
June 2, 2020
Dear JICS Community
We are aware that racism in all forms is deeply rooted in our history and exists in our own community. These past weeks remind us of the ongoing impact of anti-Black racism on individuals and communities. Through the media, we have witnessed violence and harassment against members of the Black community. We are very aware of the devastating impacts of anti-Black racism in our world and at JICS.
These events are felt personally, and in different ways by our students, staff, and parent community at JICS. We recognize that there are a myriad of feelings being experienced by Black staff and students in the JICS Lab School. There is an increased sense of vulnerability and reactions of sadness, insecurity, anger, and grief. It is our responsibility to stand up and do whatever it takes to end racism, hate, and oppression of all kinds. Silence is not acceptable. As stated by Archbishop Desmond Tutu: If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. The profound harm it causes to individuals, families and communities can no longer be debated or tolerated and must be stopped.
The first voices to consult in this moment are Black voices. Here are a few from both Canada and the U.S.:
Desmond Cole, The Skin We’re In
Njoki Wane, From My Mother's Back
B. Denham Jolly, In the Black; My Life
Ibram X, Kendi, How to be an Anti-racist
Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi, Stamped (for young people)
Some helpful resources for adults are:
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
White Fragility: Why It's so Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo, Michael Eric Dyson - foreword, et al.
Waking Up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving
Blindspot by Mahzarin R. Banaji, Anthony G. Greenwald, et al.
Masai Ujiri: To overcome racism, we must raise our voices
For children and parents, we highly recommend the following bookstores:
Here are 31 children’s books to support conversations on race, racism and resistance from an organization called ‘Embrace Race’.
A list of 10 ideas for how to use media to start and continue conversations about race and racism with your kids can be found here.
The JICS Lab School is committed to equity and inclusion, and we acknowledge the importance of addressing anti-Black racism in developmentally appropriate ways with the children throughout the year. As we continue to serve our students, these acts of violence are critical reminders of the urgency to remain focused and committed to the changes that need to happen for our students and families. We strive to continuously examine our commitment on how we make our school a safe place for all students, staff, parents, and community members.
At JICS, we do not always get things right, but we will maintain an unwavering focus on ending anti-Black racism and all forms of oppression. We know we need to hear and deeply listen to the voices of our students, parent community and staff, and make sure our diversity and equity efforts are informed by these voices. We invite you to reach out and inform us about your experiences, thoughts, concerns, suggestions.
We strive to create brave spaces for the courageous conversations that need to happen, and to welcome input from all of our community members on how we can best meet everyone’s needs to continue this critical work.
In our sadness and anger, let us work towards change and hold each other accountable for taking a stand against individual and systemic acts of anti-Black racism. Let us work together to make a difference and fight against all forms of racism and hate as we strive to change the future in the lives of our community and beyond.
Richard Messina Chriss Bogert
Principal Vice Principal