Message to Our Community from Superintendent Kenneth Salim

Message to Our Community from Superintendent Kenneth Salim
Posted on 12/12/2019
This is a highly-charged and emotional period in the history of Cambridge Public Schools. On Tuesday night, students, community members, families and educators gave passionate and painful testimony during this past Tuesday’s CPS School Committee meeting. The period reserved for public comment extended well past the three-hour mark. Over a hundred students, faculty, parents and community members gave voice to the pain inflicted by racism in our community.

Members of the Black Student Union were among those who testified, joined by leaders of the Cambridge Education Association (CEA), the Building Equity Bridges project, and CRLS Student Government. Standing with them were even more students, educators, parents, and community members -- people of color and white allies -- speaking in support of students and educators of color in our community. 

This show of strength should not be confused with unanimity, or even unity. Fractures within our community have been laid bare, and I will not disrespect our students by asking people to “come together.” Instead, I am writing to you to ask for space.

The pace of institutional change is unforgivably slow, but we must make room for healing. The brain can not learn when it is stressed, and the stress of sustained conflict makes it difficult for people to hear one another and recognize their common humanity. We are a community - a community that prides itself on our diversity but falls short of our stated values. We are a community of humans, and recognizing our common humanity is our only hope.

Please remember that the goal of healing is to regain strength. The Cambridge Education Association and Cambridge Public Schools have pledged to work together to build a culture of equity and racial equity in CPS. This work has just begun - and it will need all of us.

Our community must heal in order to navigate these very difficult waters and move towards greater equity and racial equity for our students, families and community. Please, take care of yourself and one another. Stay strong, so our work can continue.
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