As the President and CEO of TE2: Education and Engineering Consulting,
I would like to offer my condolences to the family and friends of George Floyd. I am deeply saddened, frustrated, and troubled by his death, which I believe was murder, at the hands of now former MPD officers. My heart aches for George's family and for our Black community, here in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, across the nation, and worldwide.
My prayers also go out to the members of the Black, Brown, and Asian and Pacific Islander, American Indian, Native, and/or Indigenous communities here in Minneapolis and across the planet. The struggle, our struggle, for equal rights, justice, and freedom has been going on now for over 500 years here in the Western hemisphere; 500 years of oppressive treatment, colonialization, and inequities based on race and culture.
Yet, still we rise. Still we fight for freedom. And, still we fight for equity and justice.
As a Samoan, growing up in a predominantly White family and community here in the Midwest, I have experienced both White privilege and discrimination. I have felt the pain of racial injustice at a personal and professional level and, I can tell you, it has affected how I approach my work as an educator who has been working to increase racial, social, economic, and political justice within the field of education.
As such, I thought it appropriate to make a few public statements and commitments:
I/TE2 publicly denounce individual, systemic, and structural racism in every form and, especially, as it pertains to education because I am an educator.
I/TE2 publicly denounce discriminatory policies, practices, and procedures that negatively impact our communities of color and, most especially, our Black, Brown, and American Indian, Native, and/or Indigenous students.
I/TE2 publicly denounce state-sanctioned violence against community and communities and, more specifically, the Black community.
I/TE2 commit to continue working for racial equity and justice for each student here in Minnesota with a specific emphasis on improving the academic, social, political, and economic outcomes for Black, Brown, and American Indian, Native, and/or Indigenous students.
I/TE2 commit to continuing to stand up for justice anywhere injustice exists.
I/TE2 commit to challenging and transforming systems and structures that serve to maintain the status quo that privileges a few, to the detriment of the many.
And, I/TE2 commit to continuing to do my work as an educator, with a radical love for each person I encounter and even for those who might stand against me and the principles of justice and racial equity that I am fighting for.
I acknowledge that these public statements are only the beginning in making the changes that are so sorely needed at both an individual and collective level. But, they are a start and the, "journey of a thousand miles, begins or continues with a single step (Lao Tzu)."
I urge you and your organization to reflect on where you stand with respect to speaking out and standing up for justice. The time for change is now and we can be the difference makers. Be the difference for racial justice.
Justice, peace, and one love - "Say his name. George Floyd! Say his name. George Floyd! Say his name. George Floyd!"