We are currently living in a country that all too often is defined first by what divides us rather than what unites us. This focus on division creates a distraction that allows oppressive systems and structures to stay intact.
Last Wednesday’s school board meeting in West Contra Costa was a reminder of how powerful we can be when we stand together.
Members of the West Contra Costa African American Site Advisory Team (AASAT) presented their resolution titled In Support of the Achievement and Success of African American / Black Students In The West Contra Costa Unified School District. The resolution details a number of actions they believe the district should take to stop the chronic failing of African American children in WCCUSD.
In her opening remarks, AASAT co-chair Golddie Williams posed two questions to board members and district staff: “When your grandchildren Google this night, what will they say about what you did here tonight? What will your legacy be?”
The AASAT team went on to declare an “educational state of emergency” and justified their call for a financial commitment of $7.2M for targeted services and supports for African American children throughout the district.
Wednesday night was not just about changes to policy and practice — our African American families were fighting to be seen. When the last AASAT speaker approached the dais, the urge to rise swept through the boardroom. Members from the United Teachers of Richmond, the Richmond chapter of the NAACP, and our own Family Leaders Action Group (FLAG) stepped forward in support, arms outstretched holding signs that said “We See You” and “Te Vemos”.
As public comment ensued, and board members heard more about the lived realities of African American students in our schools, the room continued to stand in solidarity. The display of unity was contagious and inspired board members to follow suit, to fight together, and to state that this resolution needed to happen — not in 2022 or 2025 — but now. In fact they agreed that this was long overdue.
AASAT’s resolution was unanimously adopted.
Wednesday night’s vote was entirely about what’s best for African American students. And when our grandchildren Google this night years from now, they will see a room full of people crossing lines of difference in the name of what is right.