Another Inequitable Tragedy
I am writing to address the recent incident involving Tyre Nicholas and another inequitable tragedy that has swept our nation. First, I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to Tyre Nicholas’ family and friends who have been deeply affected by his loss. As a country, we are once again experiencing a devastating and painful moment, and it serves as a reminder of the ongoing struggle for racial justice and equality.
This recent devastating event is likely in many of your minds and hearts, and I want to acknowledge the range of emotions you may be feeling - from anger, to sadness, to frustration. I understand that this is a difficult time for our nation, and I want you to acknowledge that as an organization we empathize with the impact it has had on so many. As an individual, I myself have felt many emotions, and hope that one day our nation can eradicate inequities in our systems.
I want to re-emphasize that Value Schools will continue to stand for equity, justice, and respect for all people, as these are continuously weaved in and through our values. As a network, we will continue to work towards creating a safe and inclusive space for all staff, students and families.
If you need support or have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to each other, your principal or the network office team. We have resources available to help, and we encourage you to take advantage of them if needed.
Chief Executive Officer
In January of 2021, Value Schools participated in an agency-wide professional development series on intercultural competency. Each school campus spent time working on a Campus Climate Inventory to gauge the need for change in school culture and curriculum. Below are summaries from each leadership team assessing the strengths and opportunities for growth at each school site.
Stop the Hate
We at Value Schools are saddened and appalled at the recent killings of Daoyou Feng, Suncha Kim, Paul Andre Michels, Hyung Jung Park, Julie Park, Xiaojie Tan, Delaina Ashley Yaun, and Yong A. Yue in Georgia. We recognize their deaths as part of a rising tide of violence and discrimination against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders throughout the nation. While still significantly underreported, hate-motivated incidents by white supremacists have risen over the past several years. Last year brought a particularly sharp increase in anti-Asian hate crime, which more than doubled in the city of Los Angeles. Chinese-Americans, disproportionately women, have increasingly been singled out for discrimination, harassment, and worse since the coronavirus pandemic began.
The misplaced anger and racist rhetoric hurled at the AAPI community in the past year had a new trigger. But the rhetoric and violence are not new, and have never been restricted to those of Chinese descent. As educators and scholars, we recognize that the “othering” of Asian-Americans and Asians from many countries has a long and terrible history in the United States. From exclusion laws to internment to massacres to “model minority” discrimination, our AAPI friends have struggled to be recognized as belonging in America. We stand with them in that struggle, and affirm that they are just as much “we the people” as every other group in this wonderfully diverse city and nation.
Nativism, white supremacy, misogyny and violence threaten the minds and futures, not just the bodies, of targeted groups. But they damage us all. Whether an individual incident neatly fits the definition of “hate crime” is beside the point. We must do more to recognize and rectify the pervasive and growing danger to the AAPI community.
That community is our community. Not only do our schools serve Koreatown, but we make our headquarters in a building shared by the Korean American Education Foundation. Our colleagues here share our values, including a commitment to education, to good citizenship, and to the dignity of every individual. We see them. We grieve their losses and are shamed by their justified fear. We must all do better to live up to our nation’s motto – “E Pluribus Unum.”
Each individual is unique and deserves respect. We teach this simple principle every day. Yet every day we see the world violate it in the most heartbreaking of ways.
There can be no more profound violation than death at the hands of those who wield state power, or presume they have a personal right, to indulge racist urges and perpetuate white supremacy. To merely begin to say the names – George Floyd... Breonna Taylor... Eric Garner... Sandra Bland... Philando Castile... Ahmaud Arbery – is to recognize the futility of trying to capture the full horror inflicted by systemic racism.
These are but a few of those whose lives and potential have been cut short or irreparably damaged by the injustice of racism. We honor the many lives lost and futures derailed. We stand in solidarity with our Black brothers and sisters within and outside Value Schools, and share their anger and grief.
Black Lives Matter. Our fifth value calls on all of us to be of service to the community, and we will do our part. Read the letter.
U.S. Supreme Court Reinforces All Our Values
Value Schools commends the recent decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court that reinforce one of our core values, that each person is entitled to respect and dignity. We share the relief of the Dreamers in our community for whom “home is here.” We celebrate their contributions to American society at large, and to our community specifically, and look forward to the day they and their families can feel permanently secure as members of the American family.
Likewise, we applaud the Court’s recognition that the protections of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against sex discrimination must be extended to all, regardless of how they describe themselves. When LGBT+ workers are able to fulfill their potential and be free from discrimination, we all reap the benefits of a stronger and more just society.