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Public Prep Statement On Social Injustices

June 5, 2020

Dear Public Prep Community,

The events that have occurred in our beloved city and throughout our nation over the past week, have left us at times at a loss for words. We have been on an emotional roller coaster ranging from rage to hopelessness to activism, throughout it all making the conscious choice to move forward by keeping our doors open for scholars. One thing that we know for sure, this work will take all of us, not some of us, working together to create the change we want to see.  

As we write this note, protesters have taken to the streets not just in cities where the incidents occurred but across our country and the world to ask for change to the inequity that has persisted for generations.  As former President George Bush shared in his public statement on Tuesday, “It is time for America to examine our tragic failures -- and as we do, we will also see some of our redeeming strengths."  What happened to George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor exposed the racist and prejudiced system and culture that has treated black and brown lives differently since the birth of our nation. On behalf of every member of our organization and in the communities that we serve, we express empathy and solidarity with those who feel unsafe, apprehensive or have experienced loss during this time. 

As an organization who serves predominantly low-income black and brown communities, we can not remain silent against unconscionable acts of racial violence.  Racism and systemic oppression plague the communities that we serve and has only been amplified during this pandemic.  The Public Prep family - including staff at Boys Prep, Girls Prep and PrePrep - stand in solidarity with those determined to end systemic racism, and recommit to examining how our own practices and agency can continue to be a force of change.  

Our community, as always, has risen to the occasion. In addition to the existing efforts of our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Teams that work intentionally to openly and directly address and be mindful of matters of diversity, equity, and inclusion in interactions across stakeholders, we are creating new opportunities to come together and deepen this work.  On Tuesday morning, we brought together our entire network to remind ourselves of the children and families who depend on us for a high quality education and ensure that their child is on a predictable pathway to and through college.  Throughout this week, we created opportunities for leaders, teachers and staff to share perspectives, engage in self-reflection and introspection and begin to amass resources that will serve the variety of stakeholders in our community.  On Thursday, Boys Prep hosted a special town hall for their community led by their male staff of color to connect with the boys and help them make sense of all of the events that have occurred.  We are planning a similar town hall with our girls next week.  Today, our schools are closed and staff are engaged in a day of learning to continue the conversations. 

We are committed to showing up each and every day for our scholars to ensure that they are provided with the skill set, agency and opportunity to be cared for and educated.  We are committed to actively engaging our full community in ant-racist practices that dismantle systemic racism and systems of oppression that have existed for far too long.  We are committed to teaching our children that there can be a different path forward.  Together we will get through this as we have gotten through every other obstacle that has come our way.  
 

In Solidarity,

Ian Rowe, CEO
Janelle Bradshaw, Superintendent, Incoming CEO