Sunday Reflections: We See You

A Message from Superintendent Greg Baker

Students, Staff, Families and Community,

I’d like to share a few reflections with you regarding recent events.

First, to acknowledge the disruption that COVID-19 has had on our lives for the last few months. While it can be challenging for us to personally connect with each other during these difficult times, it is critical for us to do so. Since March, our district, community, state, country and world have been almost solely focused on this pandemic. And understandably so.

However, another pandemic has been wreaking havoc for hundreds of years in our country – that of racism, bigotry and hate. We are now, again, faced with the murder of an African American man, George Floyd. We know that many of our families and especially our children are trying to make sense of these events.

It’s important to remember that what happened to George Floyd did not happen in isolation. Let’s not forget Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Emmett Till and too many others. We as a district and community denounce these murders and we stand in solidarity with our communities of color. We commit to asking the hard questions of how we hold ourselves and our community accountable for enacting justice and dismantling the systems that enable racism, bigotry and hate.

I want to remind you that if you need support, you are not alone; we and community partners can help. Please contact your child’s teacher, counselor, principal, me or any trusted staff member in your child’s school. You may find this webpage of resources helpful, which includes guidance on how to talk to children about traumatic events and racism. If you feel now, or have ever felt unnoticed or under-represented, particularly in our schools, know that we see you. All children and families are loved in our district and all are wanted and welcome.

As we near the end of the school year, I’d like to bring the focus back to where we started – which was highlighting The Bellingham Promise’s key strategy of equity, diversity and inclusion. We collectively commit in our vision to empower every child to discover and develop their passions. For this to count, they must see a community and country that loves, in fact, needs the diversity and strengths they bring with them. To accomplish our vision, we must all commit to interrupt factors that perpetuate systemic inequities.

We have made strides throughout our own district and broader community, and yet we have much work still to do here and across our entire country. Racism is deep in our culture. It is up to each of us to dismantle it. Our thoughts, sincere wishes and, most importantly, our actions must show our children that Black lives matter. Our country is in crisis, and while I have hope that the coming days will get better, that hope is bolstered by thinking of our young people, who will be our future leaders, activists and change agents.

Thank you, and a deep appreciation to our students, parents, educators and community.  We should not be afraid to ask questions, learn our country’s history, and have conversations with each other regardless of backgrounds.

Greg Baker