New York City schools Chancellor Richard Carranza released a letter to educators on Wednesday that urged school communities to “answer the call to be anti-racist” in the wake of George Floyd’s killing.
Carranza wrote that racism is deeply woven into the fabric of America’s economy and institutions, noting: “That is true in New York City, as progressive and forward-thinking as we are, including in our public school system.”
He encouraged educators to work every day to unravel racist systems. “We will continue in our resolve to advance equity now,” he wrote. “We will honor the dignity and humanity of every student, family, and educator every day.”
The letter does not outline any new steps or changes the country’s largest school system will make in the wake of Floyd’s death and the resulting demonstrations against racism. Rather, Carranza said educators “must double down on our work for equity and evolution.” He pointed to the education department’s existing discipline reforms, anti-bias training, and wrap-around supports, including mental health treatment.
Carranza also told teachers that their work is “by definition part of the effort to fight injustice.”
“You are working to address and reverse the effects of systemic racism and bias by providing an excellent education,” he wrote. “And I am here to work shoulder to shoulder with you, championing and charting the path for this work every step of the way.”
The education department also shared a list of resources for educators to lean on as they try to help students process Floyd’s death and the resulting unrest across the country. They include short videos, discussion prompts, and suggested lessons.
The resources also point educators towards mental health supports for teachers and students, including crisis hotlines and counseling services.