Democratic school board nominees release resolution condemning racism

Dr. Vickie Benson, Julia Hurtado, Leroy Tre Hutchins, Lindsay TerrebonneDemocratic candidates for school board (clockwise from upper left): Dr. Vickie Benson, Julia Hurtado, Leroy Tre Hutchins, Lindsay Terrebonne

The Democratic nominees for the Cobb County Board of Education released the following resolution condemning systemic racism:

Resolution Condemning Systemic Racism and Affirming a Commitment to Educational Equity for All Students, Families and Staff

September 30, 2020, COBB COUNTY DEMOCRATIC NOMINEES FOR COBB SCHOOL BOARD OF EDUCATION, LEROY TRE’ HUTCHINS of Mableton, Georgia, LINDSAY TERREBONNE of Powder Springs, Georgia, DR. VICKIE BENSON of Acworth, Georgia and JULIA HURTADO of Marietta, Georgia, collectively release the following Resolution Condemning Systemic Racism and Affirming a Commitment to Educational Equity for All Students, Families and Staff.

The Cobb County School District Board of Education, after several months of deliberation, were unable to successfully pass a Resolution to Condemn Racism. Their inability to create a consensus around such an important and timely issue within our community speaks volume to the ineptness and dysfunction within this current Board of Education. We can’t just move on; business as usual. Therefore, as your next Board of Education members, we commit the following;

Resolution Condemning Systemic Racism and Affirming a Commitment to Educational Equity for All Students, Families and Staff

WHEREAS, the Democratic candidates for the Cobb County School Board are saddened and outraged by the recent death of George Floyd, a Black, fellow American; and by the preceding and unjust deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and many others;

WHEREAS, we recognize that national protests demanding justice for George Floyd and Breonna Taylor have highlighted the systemic racism and injustice that have long persisted in our country, state and county;

WHEREAS, we condemn racism and hate in our schools and our society, and must work to protect the Constitutional rights and inherent dignity of every person who lives, works and learns in our community;

WHEREAS, we cannot be silent. We must urgently act to stop the racial injustices and structural inequities that harm and anguish Black and Brown people, who are our family, friends, neighbors, students, staff members and fellow Americans;

WHEREAS, we must listen. We must engage in critical self-reflection as we listen to those who have endured centuries of discrimination and intolerance, and who deserve to be heard as they share the truth of their stories, experiences and feelings; and we must seek with great empathy to understand their challenges and their pain;

WHEREAS, we must learn. It is time to engage our community in meaningful and honest conversations about racial injustice, to build alliances with those committed to justice for all, and to work together to support our shared conviction that racism must end;

WHEREAS, we must lead. Each of us, individually and collectively, is responsible for creating and nurturing an anti-racist learning environment where every child is respected and valued for who they are, regardless of their skin color. We must actively acknowledge, address and prevent the racial bias that occurs as a result of divisive school policies, practices and actions; and

WHEREAS, we must do better. We reaffirm that Black Lives Matter and recognize the urgent need to ensure that equity is at the center of everything we do as a school district. Guided by our Strategic Plan, we will work to change the culture within Cobb County Schools to inspire students and address barriers to learning.

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that we, candidates of the Cobb County School Board, stand steadfast in our commitment to foster an inclusive educational environment where every student, teacher, support professional, parent and community member is treated with dignity and respect, and we reaffirm our commitment to continue fighting for racial justice and human rights for all.

“I am excited to have the opportunity to work with such a smart, caring and thoughtful group of women who are just as passionate about our children’s education as I am. This is the type of responsive leadership that will ensure we continue to have great schools, with excellent culture and climate for ALL children, for many years to come!” ~Leroy Tre Hutchins

“Our community has asked our school district to unite against systemic racism, but ourcurrent leaders have not been able to agree on how to write the statement, let alone how to reduce the harm our schools feel from these circumstances. We know that our fellow stakeholders deserve better. We/re committed to ensuring that our students feel safe and our employees feel supported so that students of every racial and cultural identity can focus on learning”. ~Julia Hurtado

“Through the course of this campaign, I’ve heard the despair and disappointment from Cobb families as they refer to the Board (BOE) being unable to pass a resolution against racism. Our community has been repeatedly traumatized by the videos and details of lives lost, revealing systemic inequities. As schools are a microcosm of our society, our families need to know that their school district is actively creating a safe learning environment for all kids. Students must feel safe before they can learn”. ~Lindsay Terrebonne

“We must continue to build a multicultural community through education diversity and cultural acceptance that will empower our students’ learning for the 21st Century. Ultimately there must be a paradigm shift in the school district where we are celebrating diversity and committing to equity initiatives”. ~Dr. Vickie Benson