Below is a letter to the Classical Community from Executive Director and the Founder of Classical Charter Schools, Lester Long. While, we typically use this blog to share the strategies and insights we’ve developed in support of fellow educators, we recognize that right now, our focus, and the focus of educators across the country, has shifted. In light of the recent murders of Black Americans and the national outrage that’s erupted as a result, our focus is on how to heal, how to move forward, and how to respond to these tragedies with meaningful change.
To the Classical School Community:
The last several days and weeks have no doubt been emotional ones. The horrific deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmed Arbery have triggered mass protests in communities across the country, shining a giant spotlight on long-standing inequities in society. Americans have rightly conveyed anger and rage, called for fundamental reform, and demanded lasting change in policing – and beyond. The message of these protests is simple and undeniable: Black Lives Matter.
We know that real, structural, systemic racism exists across America – plain and simple. It must be tackled head-on, confronted, untangled, and rooted out in all its forms. That’s what this unique moment in history is about. At Classical, we’re also reminded why we do this work of educating children. Our goal is to develop future leaders in our communities, to nurture students who will never be afraid to use their intellectual tools to speak out against injustice whenever and wherever they see it. For nearly 15 years in the South Bronx, we’ve worked to develop those great citizens – and being a great citizen is about fighting for change. That includes demanding change in policing, fighting against historic inequality in our economy, standing up for a transformation of our education system to give every child a fair chance to succeed, and so much more.
From the COVID-19 crisis, to the economic hardship it has caused, to the movement for change happening each night nationally, these are no doubt complex times. For the world, the protests in cities across the country magnify the racism and inequity that exists throughout society. For our scholars at Classical, we believe it’s an important teachable moment, which is why we are already in the process of providing scholars, staff, and families a platform to share their thoughts, frustrations, and plan for peaceful protest. We hope our children take away an important lesson: delivering change requires each and every one of us to stand up and speak out for what we believe in, but it’s also critical to develop the academic tools and intellectual rigor to ensure that when you do, the world will listen.
Founder & Executive Director
Classical Charter Schools