Clearly, we are at a unique moment in history in which we are urged to contemplate what is truly important to each of us and the kind of community we want to be a part of, and raise our children in.
Many of us are asking ourselves How can I help? What direct action can I take to support efforts of equity and inclusion? What steps can I take to ensure my child grows up in a more just society?
As a Board, we’ve been discussing the recent events of racial injustice and police brutality, and how we can come together to actively work to promote equity, honest and productive conversation, and opportunity for all students in the PS 20 community, especially our students of color.
What has come out of these discussions is a commitment to re-evaluate the PTA programs and funds, in a way that is proactively allocating funds to promote equity and to support our students of historically marginalized groups that are victimized by racism and racist policies.
Accordingly, we have decided to use the Silent Auction as a Town Hall - an opportunity for families to come together and hear from our school leadership in response to the race-motivated violence, the peaceful demonstrations, and what this means for our future school community.
Furthermore, we have decided to allocate 100% of the auction income to intentionally and publicly recommit to the race equity work that we have been working toward for the past couple of years. As we expand to assume the building of 225 Adelphi, this tone and perspective are vitally important.
While this has been a rapidly developing shift, some of the initiatives that we intend to utilize auction funds to support in this and coming years are:
- Multi-faceted training for families and staff about diversity and inclusion at PS 20, including targeted consulting assistance to ensure that all aspects of our programs are examined through an anti-racist lens and opportunities for our students to actively discuss and reflect on these topics.
- Classroom supplies, to ensure that each classroom is equally and sufficiently equipped, regardless of whether parents are able to purchase back-to-school supplies.
- Ensuring that, at a minimum, 20% of participants in Mosaic are receiving scholarships and that our afterschool enrichment classes are diverse.
- Targeted outreach to PreK families of color to encourage application to the French Dual Language Program.
- Funding for afterschool homework help and study skills for students who have fallen behind over the summer.
- Ensuring that our families hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic are connected with organizations who provide support to families in financial need.
We are still enthusiastically donating 5% of our proceeds to the Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership initiatives supporting those most affected by COVID-19: families who are food insecure, small business owners, and Brooklyn Hospital essential workers. We also look forward to creating a meaningful way to honor our PS 20 families who are essential workers on the front line during the pandemic soon after we return in the fall.
It’s taken us all some time to come around to the fact that life is not on pause. This is our one life and we are living it now. We must bravely face our fears and carry on. The isolation makes it harder and we strongly believe that having events and opportunities that bring us together help us see our place in humanity.
It is not enough to say all this, let us act. We call upon you to please do what you can to supportthis work, our school, and our community.
Your PS 20 PTA Board