Our Current Climate
A word from Albany African American Leadership, Trustee Brian Doss and Superintendent Dr. Frank Wells
We discussed and shared our painful experiences and many challenges as African American men and felt compelled to write a joint statement regarding our current climate.
There have been many protests throughout our country and locally here in the Bay Area. These protests are a result of the violations against humanity. We all watched how a white police officer literally murdered an African American man, George Floyd. The tragic events that led to the recent loss of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, as well as the treatment of Chris Cooper, have put a spotlight on the treatment of African Americans in our society. These events, unlike most, were filmed; however, these incidents occur all the time.
Historically, African Americans have been an oppressed group, without justice, and never afforded such luxuries as privilege or entitlement. Every day Black people experience racism and hate that come in multiple-forms, all of which are learned behaviors and originate at home, ranging from having low expectations of Black people to being treated by others as if this group is insignificant, and yet African Americans are expected to demonstrate great restrain against such disdain.
When it comes to education, we can proudly say that when provided an opportunity our African American students demonstrate excellence. Let us not forget, Black people created math, sciences and the University, where students and future scholars once came from all over the world to learn and study. This rich history has not been a part of our curriculum as a prominent significant contribution to the world. Imagine what this kind of an omission does to a child, a student and an adult. This is not only challenging and frustrating, but many of us find it simply tiring. Fanni Lou Hamer, a prominent American figure, said it best, “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.” In other words, we can no longer sustain our restrain. We must do something to contribute to change - not for us, but for our kids’ sake. The children are depending on us.
So, what can you do during these very difficult times? We would like to offer a few suggestions:
- Reach out to black colleagues and community members.
- Be willing to have a courageous conversation.
- Many people are struggling both mentally and emotionally because of these recent events. Consider utilizing the mental health services offered by the District. Contact your site administrator for resources.
We are depending on you to do better, leaving no room for racism. Our generation must not be left with the final words, “I can’t breathe.”
Brian Doss, School Board Trustee
Dr. Frank Wells, Superintendent of Schools
Albany Unified School District