Leaders of Marion County’s 11 public school districts released a joint video in which they pledge to “learn, apply, teach anti-racism with urgency and intentionality in our school communities.”
It’s part of an initiative called “No Racism Zone” that includes resources for families to discuss anti-racism and social justice and signs in schools. Today some of the districts will turn lights on in athletic stadiums to honor George Floyd, a black man killed by a police officer last month in Minneapolis.
Floyd’s death sparked widespread protests across the country against police brutality and calls for racial justice. In Indianapolis, the mayor and police department have agreed to make changes related to protesters demands for transparency.
The video shows each of the district superintendents speaking into the camera and making a statement related to educational and racial equity. Around 139,000 students attend the districts.
“Through transparency, we will actively work to create educational spaces that more effectively serve and support historically underserved students and dismantle systems which cause harm,” says Nikki Woodson, Washington Township Schools superintendent.
Wayne Township Superintendent Jeff Butts, says the districts stand in “solidarity with our communities to build a more Just passionate work to abolish racism, values social justice and respect you.”
Racial equity has been a focus for Indianapolis Public Schools the past few years. In 2015 the district partnered with the national Racial Equity Institute. Educators and staff are now required to undergo training. District staff also provide training to business and community groups.
IPS also recently released the Say Their Names “tool kit” about race and civil disobedience for students and parents.