Board of Education | Resolution to Recognize Racial Disparities

As educators, South Pasadena Unified School District President Michele Kipke says “we have a responsibility to teach our students about the injustices people of color face every day.”

FILE PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPUSD Board of Education President, Michele Kipke

During Tuesday night’s regularly scheduled South Pasadena Unified School Board meeting, a resolution will be established “that acknowledges and recognizes that racial disparities have no place in our community,” wrote Board President Michele Kipke in a message to the community, reflecting on the unrest across America.

“As educators, we have a responsibility to teach our students about the injustices people of color face every day,” explained Kipke. “We are committed to ensuring that our students have the knowledge, skills and confidence to create a more peaceful and just world, one that embraces and celebrates diversity and breaks the chains of racism.”

On behalf of the South Pasadena Unified School District Board of Education, Kipke is reaching out during what she calls “one of the most painful times” in recent memory.

“During the past few weeks, we have witnessed blatant acts of racism and police brutality, touched off by the horrific and senseless deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, among others,” noted Kipke. “These events remind us that anti-Black racism is alive and well and continues to plague all corners of our country and our society.”

She says the school board stands with the citizens of South Pasadena and throughout the nation “who are protesting and saying enough is enough. “Enough of the anti-black racism. Enough of the persistent and institutionalized racism that holds all people of color back. Enough of the police harassment, brutality and killing of unarmed black men and women. Enough of the lack of accountability. Police officers, sworn to serve and protect, must be held accountable for their crimes. Racism, in any form and against any group, can no longer be tolerated.”

While these acts have engendered feelings of fear, pain and frustration, “let them be reminders that we as allies are responsible for what happens next. We must listen to and learn from black communities,” Kipke wrote. “We must speak up in their defense because silence is no longer an option.”

As leaders of the South Pasadena Unified School District, Kipke says the Board of Education’s role will be to assist the community “across all racial and ethnic groups in understanding the realities of black people’s experiences and to put in place systematic changes that affirms the statement, ‘Black Lives Matter.’ ”

The following is South Pasadena Unified School District President Michele Kipke’s full letter:

On behalf of the South Pasadena Unified School District (SPUSD) Board of Education, I want to comment on what has been one of the most painful times in recent memory. During the past few weeks, we have witnessed blatant acts of racism and police brutality, touched off by the horrific and senseless deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, among others. These events remind us that anti-Black racism is alive and well and continues to plague all corners of our country and our society.

We stand with the citizens of South Pasadena and throughout the nation who are protesting and saying enough is enough. Enough of the anti-Black racism. Enough of the persistent and institutionalized racism that holds all people of color back. Enough of the police harassment, brutality and killing of unarmed Black men and women. Enough of the lack of accountability. Police officers, sworn to serve and protect, must be held accountable for their crimes. Racism, in any form and against any group, can no longer be tolerated.

While these acts have engendered feelings of fear, pain and frustration, let them be reminders that we as allies are responsible for what happens next. We must listen to and learn from Black communities. We must speak up in their defense because silence is no longer an option. Our role as leaders of the SPUSD will be to assist our community, across all racial and ethnic groups, in understanding the realities of Black people’s experiences and to put in place systematic changes that affirms the statement, “Black Lives Matter.”

During this week’s regularly scheduled Board meeting, we will put forth a resolution that acknowledges and recognizes that racial disparities have no place in our community. As educators, we have a responsibility to teach our students about the injustices people of color face every day. We are committed to ensuring that our students have the knowledge, skills and confidence to create a more peaceful and just world, one that embraces and celebrates diversity and breaks the chains of racism.

Sincerely,

Michele Kipke, Ph.D.

President, Board of Education