In light of the recent events in Charlottesville, VA, we take this time to reaffirm our stance and commitment to racial equity in Urbana School District 116. On August 11, 2017, a group of Neo Nazis, Alt-Right, and White Supremacists organized a rally to “unite the right” promoting White nationalism. Unfortunately, such rallies and events are not surprising or new. We need to remember that issues of racism and white supremacy are still a part of our collective conscience, intentional or not, and the issue of systemic racism does not rest solely on the shoulders of overt bigots, racists, and hate-mongers. This system of oppression and privilege continues to benefit those of us in privileged positions of power; therefore, we must be unequivocal in our racial equity stance that, as educators, we cannot be neutral, because neutrality maintains systems of inequality and oppression. We must recommit and actively engage in the work of dismantling white supremacy and systemic racism. This is why the district racial equity work in Urbana School District #116 is relevant, critical, and urgent. We must be willing to continuously reflect upon ways in which we are reproducing systems of inequality for students, families, and our community. Central to the district equity mission is building a system of education that is equitable and excellent for all children. This work is our collective responsibility as educators. Our students will be returning to us in just a few days and establishing meaningful relationships are paramount. We must continue to lead from the inside out and reflect our commitment to equity.
Urbana School District #116 and the district's Racial Equity Leadership Team issue the following statement about the recent events in Charlottesville, VA: