When I joined Loudoun County School Board’s Equity Ad Hoc Committee, I joined with a full heart, charged to review current LCPS policies and practices with one goal in mind – to create a pathway towards a further connected culture of diversity within our school system, charting an enhanced course for the future of our students, teachers and administrators.
On Sept. 5, our LCPS Equity Ad Hoc Committee passed the following resolution that I do not believe is a true example of equity. The resolution reads:
“Therefore, be it resolved that the … Loudoun County School Board and its division superintendent publicly declare the condemnation of White Supremacy, hate speech, hate crimes, and other hate-based acts of violence, and any instances of hate, discrimination, and violence based on race, religion, national origin, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, and socio-economic status.”
Merriam-Webster’s definition of equity is “fairness or justice in the way people are treated.” Moving forward as a committee, our words, resolutions, behaviors, and actions must be held accountable to ensure we embody the very model of equity that we aim to advocate for and instill in our school system.
I again recommend that a motion be made to remove specific language referencing white supremacy and focus on the true evil, a learned trait called racism, and condemn it in all forms. Understanding the presence of skill gaps and socio-economic divides within LCPS, I joined this committee with the trust that we can tremendously impact the lives of families across our communities, utilizing our expertise and resources to address the challenges of the families and our great educators in need of assistance and support.
As young children who grew up in the South, both my father and mother vividly remember sitting on the back of the bus. Not because they enjoyed the scenery, but because of the color of their skin. I joined the Equity Ad Hoc Committee with a vast understanding of what racism looks like, how terrible it is and recognizing that racism still exists in our society today. I did not join this committee to litigate the ills of the past, nor turn a blind eye towards one form of discrimination or racism yet continuously call out another. Turning a blind eye towards one form of racism is unacceptable and can surely lead down a path to emboldening other forms of racism.
As leaders within our communities, selectively highlighting particular areas of discrimination but dismissing others is a disgrace for the future leaders of America – our youth. We all want to see our Loudoun County youth reach their God-given potential. We all want our educators, students and parents to have the most transparent access to opportunity, resources and a foundational support system to assure they reach their full potential. It is incumbent upon us to seek opportunities for engagement, rather than single out and point fingers.
While imprisoned in Birmingham, Alabama, in August of 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. penned an amazing document, referred to as “the Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” While he was arrested for peacefully protesting, he never once lost focus as to why he sought equality for all Americans. “For more than two centuries our foreparents labored here without wages; they made cotton king; and they built the homes of their masters in the midst of brutal injustice and shameful humiliation — and yet out of a bottomless vitality our people continue to thrive and develop.”
Dr. King penned from a lonely prison cell. But during every possible challenge, he remained focused on building a better future for our nation. There is nothing stopping us today to reject racism of any form, shape or size; the love of Loudoun County will surely continue to prevail. I look forward to continuing to work with this committee towards true equity for all within our Loudoun County Public Schools.
Loudoun's Equity Ad Hoc Committee