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Standing Together for Our Students

Teach For America CEO Elisa Villanueva Beard offers an urgent message of solidarity with our Black communities.

By Elisa Villanueva Beard

June 2, 2020

Teach For America is committed to achieving educational equity and excellence for all children. Children growing up in low-income communities face tremendous historic barriers and far too often lack access to educational resources and opportunities. Teach For America’s 62,000 corps members and alumni reflect the diversity of our communities and work every day to address these profound systemic inequities. In a message to the network this week, Teach For America CEO Elisa Villanueva Beard reflected on the difficult moment our country faces and shared resources and supports as we stand together for our students.

TFA Community,

Against the backdrop of the pandemic disproportionately impacting communities of color in our country, the events in recent days—peaceful protests for justice, unrest, and violence in communities from coast to coast—have only heightened the anger, sadness, fear, and exhaustion many of us were already feeling. George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and far too many others should be alive today.

The systemic racism facing our Black communities is not a new realization for us. Today and every day, we stand firmly together against the brutality toward Black lives. We stand against racism in America. Black Lives Matter.

We are committed to providing our community with support to heal, restore, and come together on behalf of our students and communities. We have begun to pull together resources that many of you have shared and have already put to use. They include tools for your wellbeing, your own learning, and for your students. 

We also want to re-introduce the Network Slack space, a virtual community created in response to the pandemic as a place to support one another and share valuable resources. As more resources and supports are developed, we’ll be in touch through that network space.

In this moment we are clear-eyed about the challenges, and we cannot lose hope, even at times of such pain and anguish. We must ensure that the world our children grow up in is more equitable, more just, and more fair for all of us.  

You may have seen the video that went viral of Keedron Bryant, a 12-year-old singing a powerful song, “I Just Want to Live.” Our students shouldn’t have to plead for their lives. We owe them hope and justice and love—a world where all children can live, learn, lead, and thrive. The work of Teach For America for educational equity has never mattered more. We need to support one another and know we are part of this powerful network that will always rise for our students.

Wishing you safety and love,

Elisa

 

We've compiled a list of resources that educators can use to navigate the killing of George Floyd and recent events.

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