June 5, 2020

Dear LHE Parents and Guardians,

As members of the LHE PTA Equity Group, we reach out to you as our country witnesses the manifestations of systemic racism that have exploded across the country in recent weeks.  

We thank the Staff Race and Equity Team and the LHE principals for their June 4 letter sharing their commitment to an antiracist education at LHE.  We agree that all members of our community have the responsibility to speak out against injustice and inequality. Whatever our individual background, as human beings we can acknowledge and honor the anger that so many of us are feeling about the taking of innocent black lives. We grieve with the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless others who have experienced the loss of their loved ones. 

We acknowledge the reality that our LHE families of color experience the effects of racism daily, sometimes within our own community. As the PTA Equity Group and as the LHE community of families, we commit to taking an anti-racist stance. We are so grateful for the many staff and family members of the LHE community who are coming together to educate themselves about the deep roots of racism and white supremacy in our culture, institutions, and history, and to work together to lessen their impact. 

Families in the Loyal Heights community are experiencing these events in different ways.  Some families have been confronting these questions and having these conversations for years, whereas for others, these are new and uncomfortable topics.   We encourage our white families to join us in learning about the roots of racial injustice in our nation and to find their role in dismantling that injustice.  The words of Archbishop Desmond Tutu guide and challenge us: "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor."   Clearly, for the sake of justice and our community, we cannot be neutral.   This work is not simple or easy for any of us, but it is more powerful when done together.  You are welcomed and encouraged to join the PTA Equity Group to share your experiences, your knowledge, your questions, and your commitment to making LHE a just community for all.  Be part of the change. 

Below is a list of resources for parents and guardians to support your own family's learning.  Please commit to exploring one of these resources as a way to begin or continue your family's conversations about racism.  The PTA Equity Group, along with the Staff Racial Equity Team, will continue to offer opportunities for families to learn how they can help dismantle systemic racism and further racial justice.  Please email   equity@loyalheightspta.org with any questions or for the Zoom link for our last Equity Group meeting this year.  Meeting is next Tuesday, June 9, at 7:30 pm.  

Additionally, we encourage you to donate right now to organizations seeking racial justice: to Minneapolis-based   Black Visions Collective ;   or Reclaim the Block ; to a local bail fund ; to The Conscious Kid , which donates anti-racist books to classrooms nation-wide; or to the   Movement for Black Lives , a national organization which "supports Black-led rapid response efforts and long-term strategy, policy and infrastructure investments in the movement ecosystem." These groups are actively fighting systemic racism and will continue to do so after this critical moment has passed.  

In solidarity,

The LHE PTA Equity Group: Sarah Christman, Taryn Coe, Kyle Cook, Kendahl Cruver, Dani Forbess, Beth Gardner, Laurie Gold, Alicia Hale, Jan Johnson, Emilie Knutson, Erin Lynch, Maura McCulloch, Kali Sakai, Zanna Satterwhite, Jen Sullivan 

On behalf of the entire LHE PTA Board Katrina Hupp, Stephanie Gardner, Michelle Rodello, Amber Koln, Kali Sakai, Danielle Kisker, Sabrina Savrin, Julie Lubeck-Hofer, Kajsa Puckett, Katherine Diers, Melissa Fuller, Shannon McCarthy, Sadie Agurkis, Gretchen O'Connell, Maura McCulloch, Whitney Haas Otto, Michael Berkenwald, Liz Sanchez & Kathy Katzen

ANTI-RACISM RESOURCES

Resources for white parents to raise anti-racist children:

Recommended Media for Kids:
 
Recommended Books and Resources for Adults:
  • YouTube Animated Video:  "The Unequal Opportunity Race"
  • White Fragility: Why it's so Hard For White People To Talk about Racism by Robin DiAngelo
  • So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo
  • White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson 
  • Between the World and Me by Ta Nehisi Coates 
  • Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America by Michael Eric Dyson
  • Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America  by Ibram X. Kendi
  • How to be an Antiracist by Ibram Kendi
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration In The Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
  • White Like Me by Tim Wise
  • Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (film version streaming free on many platforms through June) 
  • Raising White Kids by Jennifer Harvey 
  • I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brow
  • Me and White Supremacy by Layla F Saad (a workbook)
     
Films and TV series to watch:
  • 13th (Ava DuVernay) - Netflix
  • I Am Not Your Negro (James Baldwin doc) - Available to rent or on Kanopy 
  • Selma (Ava DuVernay) - Available to rent 
  • The Hate U Give (George Tillman Jr.) - Hulu with Cinemax (Book by Angie Thompson)
  • When They See Us (Ava DuVernay) - Netflix
Podcasts to subscribe to:
More anti-racism resources to check out:
About LHPTA News
The Loyal Heights Parent-Teacher Association (LHPTA) provides information on our organization's activities as well as school-related news on a regular basis via email. Please contact Katherine Diers, LHPTA Communications Director, with any questions via kdiers@comcast.net.

About Loyal Heights Parent-Teacher Association
The Loyal Heights PTA is proud of our ongoing commitment to our learning community and our support of Loyal Heights Elementary. We are vital to Loyal Heights' strong tradition of family involvement. As PTA members, we are part of an active local, state and national organization: the largest volunteer child advocacy organization in the nation. For more information, see  http://loyalheightspta.org/ and   http://www.wastatepta.org/