Communities In Schools ® (CIS™) Calls to Renew Focus on Racial Justice and Systemic Change in America
Communities In Schools® (CIS™), the national organization working to ensure every student, regardless of race, zip code, or history of marginalization has what they need to succeed in school and beyond, issued the following statement:
“George Floyd’s death revealed truths about the painful reality of racism and police brutality in our country. But his last breath also sparked an important movement for justice that ultimately resulted in yesterday’s guilty verdicts. Still, we must recognize that we cannot achieve real racial justice based on a single trial or verdict. True racial justice will require a fundamental change in our culture, laws, policies and behaviors, and we must see it exercised in our courts, communities, schools and in every institution in America.
CIS is committed to being part of this movement for systemic change by helping the young people we support see, confront and break down the racist barriers they frequently encounter in their own communities every day.
Too often, our students bear witness to acts of excessive police force, just like the young woman in Minneapolis who captured the final moments of George Floyd’s life on her cell phone. Sometimes, our young people or their loved ones find themselves the victims of these dangerous encounters.
We support efforts to shift resources away from school policing to mental health, social emotional, civic engagement, restorative justice and other supports that improve conditions for students, allow them to thrive and avoid the school-to-prison pipeline.
We also join those who are calling on Congress and state legislatures to pass legislation that would begin to reform policing in America. These bills would bring greater accountability to law enforcement agencies and help curb the excessive and sometimes deadly use of force that are used disproportionately against Black and Brown community members.
But reforming enforcement and the criminal justice system is just one step. We must ensure equity and fairness in public education, in housing, in health care and in every place in America where racism and discrimination have been allowed to take hold.
So, as an organization, Communities In Schools will continue to raise our voice and advocate for systemic change. And we will work hard to ensure that the principles and practices of diversity, equity and inclusion are included in our own strategies, ingrained in our own culture, and reflected in our own behaviors.
Across the country, our network of affiliates is already working to help create safe and inclusive spaces inside schools for all our students. We are also providing the social-emotional supports and trauma-informed care that many of our students need when they personally encounter racism and discrimination. Finally, we are trying to support the healing needed within their communities.
While the verdict brings a painful moment to a close, we know the fight for racial justice and equality must continue. We must work together toward a day when all our children live in a country where there is truly justice for all.”