This week we have taken some time to observe, reflect, and learn. We are outraged by the inhumane killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Dion Johnson and many others, and the reminders of continued individual and systemic racism found in America.
We, as the faculty and staff of Phoenix Modern, are on the side of justice and peace in our communities, and we recognize the systemic oppression and police brutality that is especially targeting our black community. As we enter our second year as a learning community, we are actively creating a culture that centers around our children.
Alongside partner organizations, we are firmly committed to creating a socially just world by doing our part to transform the education system to one that honors each child and unleashes their power and potential to lead fulfilling lives.
We believe it is our responsibility to do the work to make sure our studios and school communities are safe and inviting and supportive of and reflective of all of our learners.
In service to our commitment to the flourishing of all learners and proactive effort to end systemic racism, we commit to:
1. Building a diverse and inclusive community
We value a community that is reflective of the diversity seen in our world today and understand we have a great opportunity to grow. We commit to improving our ability to attract a wide and diverse pool of guides and administrators to join our team—inclusive of underrepresented people of color — so that every learner has an opportunity to learn alongside a person who represents him or her. We will also work hard to ensure equal access and opportunity to enroll for children in all neighborhoods surrounding Phoenix Modern.
2. Training and growth of our staff and children
We are committed to building our own critical consciousness and cultural competence in order to have communities that are actively anti-racist and culturally responsive. This summer, we will be working to determine a professional development plan, which will include working with experts who can help us further deepen our understanding of systemic racism and our own implicit biases and work towards building schools that actively seek to dismantle white supremacy, as well as book study groups, and a series of social-justice oriented trainings for our community at large.
3. Gathering and sharing resources and tools for our community
In the coming week and the weeks that follow, we will gather and share resources that help our community learn together and take action. We also commit to providing spaces and tools for learners to process emotions and dialogue with each other as they practice perspective taking and empathy throughout the year. We welcome you to share websites, books, articles, organizations, or other resources that you have found helpful.
4. Listen and facilitate ongoing dialogue
This is not a one time statement and won’t be solved overnight. We don’t claim to fully understand or have the answers, but rather engage in ongoing dialogue with listening first. We are encouraged by many who are standing up for humanity or seeking to understand, and we welcome a collective conversation with you.
As educators, we have the tremendous responsibility to work towards a future marked by empathy, love and inclusion by committing to living and teaching anti-racism every single day. We honor those standing for justice. We stand in solidarity with our black students, families, staff, friends, and community.
We also recognize that this work cannot be done in isolation. We believe in the human potential to support healing, to build bridges, and to cultivate leaders who can build a better tomorrow. We look to you and your children as partners, resources, and advocates to help us grow and fulfill our vision of a more just, unified, and kind world.