Amidst the collective demonstrations demanding justice all over the country and the world, IDRA stands in solidarity with all who declare that Black Lives Matter. We express our sympathy for the families of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and all others who have lost their lives as a result of racialized violence and systemic oppression in the form of police brutality.

While we recognize that the pain and anguish is indescribable for those families, we also recognize that Black people living in the United States share the same pain and fear that they may be the next victims of a historically racist justice system that does not recognize the full value of their lives.

As an organization committed to promoting educational equity, IDRA recognizes the experience of young people of color, and especially Black youth. We know they are forced to live with a constant police presence in their schools. They have had to watch young people their age like Michael Brown and Tamir Rice killed at the hands of police. They are subjected to constant surveillance and scrutiny. They have had their health and security threatened by systemic healthcare inequities and the COVID-19 pandemic.

And they must manage all these challenges while figuring out how to excel academically and simultaneously asserting their right to simply exist. We remain in constant awe of the resilience and strength that those young people and their families consistently exhibit through their collective success in the face of these obstacles.

To our Black youth we say:

We hear you. We see you. We are with you. 

We feel a responsibility to promote policies and practices that affirm your right to exist and thrive. We affirm…

You deserve to attend public schools that receive sufficient funding to give you every resource to promote your success.

You deserve to attend public schools that do not single you out disproportionately for discipline.

You deserve to attend public schools free from fear of police brutality.

You deserve to attend public schools that give you every opportunity to attain college and career success.

You deserve to attend public schools that listen and partner with you, your families and your communities to make the changes that you think are important.

You deserve to attend public schools that support the totality of your humanity, including all of your physical, mental, and economic needs, and those of your family, especially as you deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

IDRA has worked to create equitable schools for you since 1973, but we know it will take everyone in the education system working together to make the changes that you deserve. To take action, IDRA encourages teachers, administrators, education leaders and policymakers to:

  • Engage authentically with youth and families by listening and making space to empower them to lead school change efforts. Read more about how the IDRA EAC-South helps education leaders accomplish these goals here.
  • Understand the challenges facing Black students due to COVID-19 and create resources to help students and families respond to the pandemic. Read more about IDRA’s guidance on responding to COVID-19 through our Learning Goes On webpage.
  • Empower youth and family to lead school change efforts by working together with them in partnership. Find out how IDRA supports family leadership development through IDRA’s Education CAFEs.
  • Join with others in education to craft culturally inclusive curricula and develop culturally responsive pedagogy to ensure that all students understand and appreciate the value of Black lives. Read more on IDRA’s efforts to promote inclusive curricula and pedagogy through our Online Community of Practice: Equity Connection.

The fight for equity and justice is not new, and it will take people of conscience of all races working together to dismantle the systems of racial oppression that have predated the founding of this country. IDRA encourages all to join us in the collective fight to ensure that our public schools, our communities and our nation recognize unequivocally that Black Lives Matter.