Hello PS 20 Family,
Happy Martin Luther King Day! Today is the day that we take time out to honor and reflect on the legacy of a man (an American) who sacrificed his life for the cause of freedom, justice and equity as a means achieving equality in America. His vision, though often simplified under the banner of "equality" encompassed more than just a dream of black and white Americans living in peace. It also touched on issues of war, justice, classism and poverty. These aspects of his message have, sadly become obscured and disregarded in exchange for the simplicity of a message which suggests that our only obligation to one another is to live without conflict.
Today, I'd like to ask us (the PS 20 Family) to commit to a different approach. I'd like for us to commit to being the realization and inheritors of Dr. King's legacy. In 2018 PS 20 began to directly engage the equity work that the NYC Dept. of Education has been promoting. That work, unfortunately was interrupted by a pandemic that exposed the savage race and class inequities in healthcare, income and education (particularly). These issues were accentuated by a summer of protests after a George Floyd, a Black man was killed by a police officer who "took a knee" and unflinchingly used it to end his life and, later images of white supremacists, with Nazi shirts and confederate flags storming the Capitol Building with effectively no police resistance.
These events compelled and propelled much of the country into a state of action, with many desperately wanting to fix this problem. But as Dr. King said, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” and therefore requires LONG and enduring and committed work - work that endures long after protests and riots have ended and the news cycles have turned to the next sensation.
Over the past two weeks I have had my mind transfixed on the realities of race and inequity in America. In addition to processing the events at the Capitol, a number of us (PS 20 family members) participated in District 13's town hall on "Race and Equity" and left frustrated and concerned that these discussions are not leading to concrete actions and steps to bring about the changes that we've talked so much about over the past 2 years. There is indeed more that can be done... Should be done.
So I hope that you'll join us during our next PTA meeting on Wed, Jan 20 6:00pm-7:00pm as I share some ideas and plans for how we could bring about lasting, consequential change in the areas of race and equity, as it applies to our PS 20 community.
This is of key importance, as Dr. Meryem Ellis and I consider our roles as PTA Co-Presidents in this space and the legacy we'd like to pass on to future PS 20 PTA leadership.
Thank you all for being a part of this community and for opening you hearts and minds to the cause of Dr. King's Dream.
Lawrence "LAW" Watford
PS 20 PTA Co-President