By: Elise Jones
2020 has been quite a year. We are still in the midst of a global pandemic that has impacted tens of millions worldwide and is spotlighting health inequities in the US that have caused Black, Indigenous, and Latino people to be more at risk of getting and dying from COVID-19. We witnessed the unjust murder of George Floyd which sparked Black Lives Matter protests throughout the United States, including Waco, and created an overdue awakening, at least for white Americans, to the reality of systemic racism.
Although 2020 has been a difficult year, it has highlighted the need for the commitment to race equity we have seen from several community leaders in Waco over the past few years. However, even in this context, when racial inequities have been brought to the forefront of our consciousness, we recognize that conversations about race are difficult. They take intentionality, commitment, and a willingness to be uncomfortable.
Alta Vista Elementary, one of the schools we work with, understands this and has chosen to have these difficult conversations as a staff. Last month, our community organizing staff facilitated a campus-wide training on cultural humility. From that training, a group of teachers, staff, and families are making diversity, inclusion, and equity initiatives a priority for their campus. They have committed to regularly meeting this school year with our community organizing staff to critically reflect on the school’s culturally responsive environment, become aware of areas of growth on campus, and then make needed changes to move towards a more equitable environment. We are excited to see what will come of their work together.