EVANSVILLE, Ind (WEHT) With protests happening around the nation, and here in the Tri-State, many are struggling with the reality of the world we live in, and how to process the tension in society.
Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation Superintendent Dr. David Smith released this statement in regards to the national coverage of the death of George Floyd while in police custody:
Dear EVSC Families and our Evansville Community,Dr. David B. Smith
I am disheartened with the disregard for life we’ve witnessed once again in our country. I struggle with the lack of empathy displayed for one another and with my ongoing feelings of sadness, frustration, and powerlessness. So I turn to what gives me hope – our children.
As parents, we want all of our children to grow into happy, healthy, and productive citizens whose contributions make the world a better place. We do our best with what we have, and pray we can provide for them a life that is better than ours. As the EVSC superintendent, I want and expect no less for all of my EVSC children. Yet as superintendent, I know that not all children have equitable access to the opportunities that will enable them to live the life we desire for them – the life we all agree they deserve. And our children – amid the uncertainty and anxiety created by the pandemic – have also borne witness to the anxiety and tensions created by the man-made plague of injustice demonstrated by the killing of George Floyd – a national disgrace that has galvanized so many to demand change.
We must move beyond caring about injustice only when it happens to us. We must understand that injustice to one is injustice for all, and injustice in any form weakens our entire community. When my friend and colleague expresses fear for his own African-American son each time he leaves their home, it is not mine to question his fear – a fear I have never known. To deny that his fear exists is to deny his humanity. Institutional racism, injustice, and inequity exist. We can spend our precious time denying they exist, we can seek to blame others for what they have contributed to our current state, or we can invest in seeking solutions that bring about the type of community we would be proud to have all children inherit.
It is an honor to serve as the superintendent of the EVSC because we believe in the promise of every child – and we embrace every child as part of our core mission. We strive to end all forms of oppression by promoting educational equity. We are far from perfect, but we do have the courage to admit we must be better, and the will to continue to work with our community toward that end. This quote from Promise54 perfectly sums up our ultimate goal, “Equity is reached when we have removed the predictability of success or failure that currently correlates with any social or cultural factor.”
So today, let us commit to this generation of children – that they will not have to endure their children growing up in a community riddled with the same injustice and inequity they have endured. Our children are watching, and they are watching us. I implore you to join us to ensure our children grow into healthy, happy, and productive citizens whose contributions alter the world for the better.
Stay safe and well,
Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation
(This story was originally published on June 5, 2020)