Message from Principal Dello Stritto, June 2
Tue, Jun 2 6:22pm

Dear Families:

 

This past week has been hard for the most vulnerable members of our community, city, state and country. The killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week has been met with public outrage in cities across America.  Sadly, we recognize that his death, and the manner in which it occurred, is not an isolated event.  My heart aches, but this is not about me or anyone else who will never have to experience the dangerous realities of racism that are so deeply rooted in our very flawed nation. It is my responsibility to look closely at myself and our community to see how we can do better to support our black community and people of color in our school, city and nation. I know we have made some efforts but we have a long way to go. 

 

At PS 58 our STRIDE committee, which stands for Social Justice, Tolerance, Respect, Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity, is an arm of the school leadership team and is comprised of staff and community members. It has been working to change our curriculum and resources to address diversity and inclusion. We have also worked to plan and implement professional development to ensure that this teaching is effective and that we as educators are not perpetuating inequity in our education system. We have a long way to go. We need to take this work further to ensure we are calling out racism at the core. We must do better as a community and I take responsibility to ensure we are keeping this at the forefront of our professional work.  The current pandemic which is defining us as an entire world right now is shining a bright light on all that is wrong with our system. Those of us who can take action and can help need to do so.   

 

At PS 58, we will uphold anti-racism in our mission and policies, and we commit to: 

  • Educate ourselves on anti-racist practices collectively as a school and as individuals.
  • Examine ourselves and the ways in which living under systemic racism leads white people to act, knowingly or unknowingly, in racist ways.
  • Recognize that those with privilege must use it to act as allies for the Black community.
  • Foster dialogue with our students in the classroom and with families at home.

I am very grateful to our STRIDE committee for the work that they have done and continue to do. I know that this work must move forward and I urge each of you to revisit all the resources that STRIDE has sent out. We will be sharing more. At this time, the representatives of our STRIDE group will be planning for actions that everyone in our community, both educators and students, can take in the month of June and beyond. We will be looking at how we can do a better job of listening as a community and labeling racism in our history, in the present day and in our own community. There will be more information to come. 

 

As a community, we have weathered the challenges of remote learning and the tremendous amount of uncertainty that has come with it. And while we hope to have a better sense of what the next school year will look like soon, as you know, we are still unsure.  Despite this, the horrific events of this week must be a reminder to us of what remains unquestionable: our participation in the fight for equity must be at the center of everything we do.  As educators, it is our obligation to ensure it is the center of our thinking, our planning, our resources, and our interaction and engagement with our students and families.

 

Below are some very helpful resources that I am sharing with you. I am sharing them so that action can be taken, not just talked about. In particular, the list of 75 ways we can help is the best place to start: https://medium.com/equality-includes-you/what-white-people-can-do-for-racial-justice-f2d18b0e0234

Linked here as well is the Kid-friendly language for Black Lives Matter Guiding Principles and  Councilmember Brad Lander's latest message that provides more useful information. Our committee was in the process of compiling resources before school buildings closed. We will be adding these and more to the list and sharing this on a dedicated STRIDE platform.