Dear LearningWorks community,
Words alone cannot capture the anger and pain we are feeling as we continue to grieve the murder of George Floyd at the hands of four Minneapolis police officers. LearningWorks honors his life and legacy and condemns the violence and actions of the Minneapolis police. We stand in solidarity with protests happening in Minneapolis and across the country, and we stand in solidarity with our Black students, families, teaching fellows and staff. We continue to offer support for our students and families and acknowledge that more needs to be done.
At LearningWorks, our commitment is to improve educational opportunities for all students. We have an essential responsibility to teach about systemic racism and the history of oppression resulting in violence against Black Americans not only last week, or last year, but for hundreds of years. In doing so, we strive to combat the institutionalized racism that has shaped Minneapolis for so long and stands in the way of our vision where all students experience justice, equity and excellence at school. We commit to centering the voices of our staff, families and faculty of color this summer and beyond.
There are many ways to show up and create positive change in the fight against injustice. You may be showing up with your body at protests, with your mind by writing to elected officials, or with your heart at community rebuilding and volunteer efforts. Our LearningWorks motto, "It's Cool to be Smart, It's Cool to be You, and It's Cool to Care," guides our actions in this moment:
It's Cool to Be Smart: Last week we began distributing resources to our families and students, our faculty and our alumni. We continue to plan how we can best Create a Safe Space for our community to heal and grow this summer. Here is a list of resources where you can give or receive support for food security, legal aid and community safety: Family Resources
It's Cool to be You: Some of us may not be in a position to fully show up to what's happening right now. The impacts of trauma and grief can be debilitating on minds, hearts and bodies. LearningWorks is offering opportunities for connection for faculty and students:
- Healing Spaces: virtual space for all faculty, led by staff of color, to check in and receive support.
- Check-in calls and texts to each LearningWorks student this week to support student safety and immediate needs.
- Thursday check-in with Ia Vang, student services director, from 3-4pm every week. Each week, students have the option of space to share and process or space to play and come together in joy.
It's Cool to Care: Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS), the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and Walker Art Center have terminated their contracts with the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD), and the Minneapolis City Council has pledged to dismantle the MPD. You may be wondering what happens next. We will share opportunities offered by MPS for your voice to be heard on what the future of student safety looks like in schools.
LearningWorks is here for you. Please take care of yourself and stay healthy, safe and well in these incredibly challenging times.