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A Quandary; And an Invitation for You

I started two drafts for this post – and discarded them both.  One was about the current situation in the Rochester City School District, and the other about discrimination in the ROC health care system.  The content was grim, mirroring the situations.  Truth be told, what I was writing was mirroring my own depression about it!

I’ve been finding myself in a quandary lately about this blog:  If I frequently report on the reality of the challenges faced by Black people in our community, will my white readers simply turn away?  If I lay out the dire situation faced by parents and children in the RCSD, for example, will people simply stop reading?  After all, you are grappling with your own adversities, woes or misfortunes.  Why would you want to burden yourself further with the misery of other people?  There is, after all, our natural human tendency to regulate our intake of grim news.  Those engaged in education regarding climate change are contending with this same phenomenon.

Add to this tendency to close the faucet the dynamic of white fragility – that our tolerance for exposure to Black burdens is limited.  And because we are white, we can opt out.  We can choose to ignore or minimize, or perhaps feel compassion then move on, sadly shaking our heads.  This, of course, is one aspect of white privilege.

Thus my quandary:  I don’t want to be complicit in feeding white fragility by penning fluffy feel-good narratives that gloss over reality.  AND I don’t want to have readers disconnecting because they find the posts consistently demoralizing.

Which way to go road sign

Now it occurs to me that this is much like the dilemma I described in my last post:  “The Race Card: Black Wariness Meets White Fragility.”   This is a taste of what a Black person must feel when deliberating about pointing out racism:

If I don’t speak up, am I just feeding their denial of what’s actually happening?

If I do speak, will white people groan and say “There he goes again!” and then disconnect?

The enormous difference, of course, is that I have very little at stake if you disconnect.  Oh, I’d hate to see you go, but it would be as much your loss as mine, actually.  After all, this is not a paid gig based on readership.  Or if you remain in denial because I’ve been too “soft”, again, that’s also your loss more than mine.  So my little conundrum is an anemic parallel to what is at stake for a Black person facing the decision about speaking out.

Still, what do I do about this?

I am sitting with a deepened awareness of the courage required to speak out.

I’m also appreciating the many Black activists I’m meeting for the real risks they face of abuse, judgment, loss, condemnation, or worse.

I’m also tasting the power of white fragility to stifle honest conversations.

I invite you to help me.  I want to know:

  • Why do you read this blog?  What are you looking for, hoping for?
  • Do you have any feedback or advice for me about writing on grim situations?
  • What topics are of particular interest?   What would grab and hold your attention?

Click on “Leave a Reply” below.  Thank you for reading this, and for helping to shape the future of this blog!  And please continue on to the Action steps below.

 

ACTION:

The elections this coming November will be especially critical for the City.  In addition to seats on City Council and on the School Board, two referendums will be on the ballot, with citizens having an extraordinary stake in the outcomes:

One will ask for citizens to approve the plan for a Police Accountability Board, as approved by City Council recently.

The other will deal with the possibility of NY State intervention in the Rochester City School District.

If you live in the City:

Check info on the Police Accountability Board Alliance Facebook page for background on this vital issue.

Commit time to assist in voter registration.  Send interested people to the on-line site, or to MoCo Board of Elections 39 W. Main St.

Contact the League of Women Voters of Rochester Metropolitan Area to volunteer for registration drives.  Ask to be assigned to a City location.

Go to Candidate Forums and quiz candidates on these issues, and ask for their concrete plans to address structural racism in city institutions.

If you are not a City resident:

You can still take the above steps.

In addition, attend candidate forums in your area and ask Monroe County candidates for their concrete plans to address structural racism in County institutions.

53 thoughts on “A Quandary; And an Invitation for You”

  1. Dear Frank,
    I am a faithful and permanent supporter and absorber of your blog.
    Last year I took Howard and Rev Judy’s 10 week MAMA course. Up until that point, I was eagerly interested in, from a liberal white woman’s point of view, information and insight into race. I felt pretty comfortable confronting “race” because I had a long history of working closely with folks of color, having friends of color and sending my kids through RCSD. Let me tell you I was not prepared for the history I learned nor being called out by Howard in no uncertain terms. I’ve been called out on a couple of other memorable occasIons, as well. My inner work is reflection, reading ( current: Stamped from the Beginning) and outer (community) work. I avoid as much as consciously possible not to bring my white supremacist views to meetings and forums. If I’ve learned anything it’s what my place means in the dominant white society. “My place” is an awful place and I see this reflected in every bit of my community, my family. It goes on and on. But, I’ll stop here.
    I’ve learned Frank, that discomfort, embarrassment is part of the long haul. Your blog wouldn’t carry any weight without this. You really have to continue. Howard needs to reply. Your readers…..we are all in the same boat need to continue the work.
    By the way, city folk: listen to Howard re RCSD and VOTE YES in November for the PAB referendum.
    Thanks for all.
    Deeply grateful,
    Penny Townsend-Quill

    Like

    1. Penny,

      Thank you for acknowledging the value of our course.

      As you know, “discomfort” is a necessary part of effective anti-racist work (for ALL of us).

      Our aim is NEVER to intentionally cause “embarrassment” or shame (even though it does, necessarily happen). With regard to the beast, we know that (almost invariably) — shaming and blaming white folks means that they will likely shut down, and frequently take flight, which of course is counterproductive. We want people to toughen-up, as opposed to shutting down, and to stay with us (for the long haul) — relative to the old, old, ongoing, historic, anti-racist struggle. Yet, the other side of the same coin is that we (MAMA) — does not subscribe to coddling people regarding straight-forward, fact-based-delivery of vital anti-racist information.

      The Struggle Continues …, And 2019 IS The Year To Smash Status-Quo-
      Based, Acute Gradualism And Historical, Benign Neglect — Period!!!

      https://mama1.org/mamas-activities

      Like

  2. There is no need for justice if there are no grim situations. And there will be no effort towards justice without full awareness of the grim situations. Don’t fret, Frank. We need your grimness.

    Like

    1. “…there will be no effort towards justice without full awareness of the grim situations.” WHAT? Who, especially among baby boomers is NOT fully aware “of the grim situations” in the thoroughly racist, white-supremacist-based U.S. nation-state?

      Like

  3. Frank, to me it is encouraging to read your blog. I like that discussions about racism are being held. I’d like it even better if we could manage to influence school curricula to include the fullness of American history, and teach how integral racism has been to our society. So what I’m saying is that I don’t find it a downer at all to read posts about racism and to read reactions to those posts. The more of us who are aware, the more likely it will be that we can effect change.

    Like

    1. IF we are willing to do the necessary WORK — engage in the necessary, ongoing, strategic ACTION — we CAN “manage to influence school curricula to include the fullness of American history, and teach how integral racism has been to our society, ” but this will NOT happen simply via “awareness” alone. WE MUST ACT. Here is a starting point:

      REAL TEAM HISTORY

      The Rochester City School District’s Racial Equity Advocacy Leadership (REAL) team was established in September 2017.

      Our Coalition ( https://www.facebook.com/tidpc/ ) has been helping to lead and guide the initiative.

      THE TASK IS: Help develop/implement, and oversee a comprehensive Racial Equity Action Plan for the Rochester City School District.

      IT’S OPEN TO EVERYONE. PLEASE JOIN US.

      WHEN & WHERE: PRIOR TO COMING OF THE NEW SUPERINTENDENT (TERRY DADE) ON JULY 1, 2019 — THE VOLUNTARY TEAM, WHICH IS COMPOSED OF PARENTS, GRANDPARENTS, EDUCATORS, ACTIVISTS, RELIGIOUS LEADERS, A BOARD COMMISSIONER, AND OTHERS, HAD MET AT ROCHESTER CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT CENTRAL OFFICE BUILDING — 131 WEST BROAD STREET (CORNER OF SOUTH PLYMOUTH AVENUE) BI-WEEKLY, EVERY MONTH (FOR 21 CONSECUTIVE MONTHS). AS OF JULY 24TH, THE NEW SUPERINTENDENT ASSERTED THAT HE WILL”FOLLOW-UP ON NEXT STEPS REGARDING RECONVENING THE TEAM AS SOON AS [HE] CAN” — WHATEVER THAT MEANS. ONE THING IS FOR CERTAIN — HE CERTAINLY DOES NOT SEEM TO VIEW RACIAL EQUITY AND/OR RACIAL JUSTICE AS A PRIORITY, WHICH IS VERY, VERY PROBLEMATIC.

      ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND INFORMATION: The Rochester Board of Education institutionalized REAL during its January 24, 2019 Business Meeting, when the majority voted to “establish the Racial Equity Advocacy Leadership (REAL) team as a permanent body to work with the Superintendent to assist in the development, implementation and monitoring of the District’s Racial Equity Action Plan and to advise the Superintendent on racial equity issues within the school system. The REAL team shall also assist the Superintendent in racial equity strategic planning, annually evaluating the impact of current racial equity initiatives on student achievement and making commitments to address newly identified race-based inequities in order to ensure that racially equitable educational opportunities are being provided to all of the students who attend our schools.”
      ————————————————————————————————————–

      The Rochester Board of Education institutionalized the REAL team during its January 24, 2019 Business Meeting. CHECK OUT THE DEBATE AND VOTE — BEGINNING AT THE “2:54:15” mark in the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Ug01Sx4g6U
      ————————————————————————————————————-

      Adopted January 24, 2019

      Resolution No. 2018-19: 631

      Equity and Educational Excellence policy – 0201

      By Member of the Board

      Whereas, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires states and Local Educational Agencies (i.e., school districts and charter schools) to take a variety of actions to ensure that all children, regardless of race, socioeconomic status, gender, disability status, primary language, or ZIP code, receive the education that they need to be prepared for success in postsecondary education, careers, and citizenship; and

      Whereas, the New York State Education Department (NYSED) submitted its ESSA plan to the United States Department of Education (USDE) and on January 17, 2018, the USDE approved the State’s plan; and

      Whereas, under ESSA and NYSED’S ESSA Plan, school districts must identify and take various actions to address inequities; and

      Whereas, the Board adopted Policy 0201, Equity and Educational Excellence, on January 25, 2018 (Resolution No. 2017-18: 555); and

      Whereas, the Board of Education of the City School District directed the Superintendent to develop and implement a system-wide equity plan that will result in measurable academic improvements for all RCSD students; and

      Whereas, the Superintendent, informed by the NYC Leadership Academy (NYCLA) Racial Equity Logic Model, responded by establishing and convening the first meeting of the Racial Equity Advocacy Leadership (REAL) team in September 2017 to:

      · identify opportunities for partnerships with organizations in Rochester to co-sponsor Professional Learning;

      · review existing policies, programs and professional learning to ensure an understanding and use of racial equity analysis tools;

      · review equity policies, goals, strategies and measures to help inform and eliminate racial predictability and disproportionality in student achievement (e.g., disproportionate over-application of discipline to students of color, over-representation in special education, and under-representation in advanced learning programs);

      · actively work to ensure that Human Resource policies, goals and strategies promote a workforce that reflects the diversity of our student body;

      · promote leadership opportunities for students to develop agency (the capacity and propensity to take purposeful initiative); and

      Whereas, the REAL team has begun the development of a district-wide Racial Equity Action Plan to initially address the under-representation of race and class-conscious teachers of color in the District, the over-application of discipline to students of color; and the underdevelopment of District personnel in professional learning focused on anti-racist education; therefore be it

      Resolved, that in support of the goals of the Board’s Equity and Educational Excellence Policy 0201, the Board establishes the Racial Equity Advocacy Leadership (REAL) team as a permanent body to work with the Superintendent to assist in the development, implementation and monitoring of the District’s Racial Equity Action Plan and to advise the Superintendent on racial equity issues within the school system. The REAL team shall also assist the Superintendent in racial equity strategic planning, annually evaluating the impact of current racial equity initiatives on student achievement and making commitments to address newly identified race-based inequities in order to ensure that racially equitable educational opportunities are being provided to all of the students who attend our schools.

      The REAL team shall include the Superintendent and his/her designees as well as invited representatives from the following stakeholder groups: unions, parents, students, faith community leaders, education activists, and other community groups or individuals on the basis of interest, experience and expertise in racial equity and educational excellence.

      Like

    2. this blog forces me t think about topics I might not want to (but should); I like reading comments of others as I further come to understand the depth of the problem; It doesn’t let me off the hook; I have to face what is out there and determine how I go about addressing it in my daily life.

      Like

  4. We each need each others’ support as we move forward to make personal and systemic changes to achieve racial equity. Your blog is one way to provide support.

    Like

  5. From an old white guy in Phoenix
    Lots of interesting responses to your quandary questions.
    I think we have no choice to continuously confront these dilemmas in this day and age as people of privilege — by such means as your blog. We have two families in Sanctuary at our Church in Phoenix. Two of forty-four people reported to be in Sanctuary across our country. So, what your questions and our church ministry teach me is how much people of privilege in power have marginalized people of color, for centuries, and now in new ways by this administration’s policies demonizing the border and people seeking refugee and safety.
    So, trudge on, write on, challenge on, provoke on, share on! Challenge our privilege, our fragility, our denial, our insular lives, our cocoons of power and privilege.
    I am reminded by your questions that each summer as we continue our privilege, we reflect on things we take for granted like vacations. People who are poor, marginalized, or seeking asylum — or in Sanctuary — cannot go on vacation or holiday, the great American privilege we all “earn.” What your blog does is remind us all that even taking vacation is a great privilege when seen through the lenses of people and communities of color.
    One last comment: someone once observed with me many years ago, that liberation theology, the base community movements, church renewal movements all failed miserably in North America despite numerous adaptions, mostly because we don’t suffer the violence and oppression of people of color. Our privilege insulates us so much, we never truly feel deeply vulnerable enough to need each other or any god/God. And as people of privilege we isolate themselves in enclaves of privilege and even on Sunday morning to avoid the suffering and oppression in the world around them and the call to do something about it all. But it is getting harder and harder to avoid so we rationalize it all way.
    Your blog is one small part of overcoming that insolation and insular existence. And when people opt out your blog ou of privilege and fragility, they have that one moment of nakedness about their privilege and power. That may be worth it all by itself — as a few people opt out confronting their own vulnerability.
    Peace always!

    Like

    1. Brother Tim, I appreciate your comments so much, because I know you put yourself on the line real time there. So far, no one has unsubscribed – and feeding people “fluff” was just an idle threat anyway! Keep up your own good action!

      Like

    2. Talk about “rationalizing” — wow.

      I’m sorry, but the following is nonsensical: “And when people opt out your blog out of privilege and fragility, they have that one moment of nakedness about their privilege and power. That may be worth it all by itself — as a few people opt out confronting their own vulnerability.”

      WHAT???

      By the way, it’s most interesting that you didn’t use the term “white” even once in your lengthy post.

      Here’s (probably) why: http://gal-dem.com/jon-snow-white-people-being-called-white/

      Like

      1. Actually, I didn’t use white because in my experience in the multicultural southwest, I have encountered all kinds of power and privilege, white privilege being one major experience. I just thought how opting out was a moment of paradox, that actual decision is the most of vulnerability when someone opts out to further their insular place of privilege. Peace always.

        Like

      2. “TIMOTHY SCHMALTZ July 23, 2019
        Actually, I didn’t use white because in my experience in the multicultural southwest, I have encountered all kinds of power and privilege, white privilege being one major experience. I just thought how opting out was a moment of paradox, that actual decision is the most of vulnerability when someone opts out to further their insular place of privilege. Peace always.”

        FIRST AND FOREMOST — THE FACT THAT I’M USING ALL-CAPS HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH THE EUROCENTRIC CONSTRUCT OF SO-CALLED “SCREAMING.” THE CAPS SERVE TWO PURPOSES: 1) TO DISTINGUISH MY COMMENTS FROM YOUR QUOTE ABOVE; 2) TO PLACE SPECIAL EMPHASIS ON MY COMMENTS. YES — “PEACE ALWAYS,” BUT STILL I MUST BE HONEST AND TELL YOU THAT, AS IT RELATES TO YOUR UNSUCCESSFUL ATTEMPT TO EXPLAIN / RATIONALIZE THE REASON WHY YOU “DIDN’T USE WHITE” — IT IS NO MORE LOGICAL THAN YOUR ORIGINAL STATEMENT. AGAIN, MORE THAN LIKELY, THE REAL REASON WHY IS BECAUSE OF THIS: http://gal-dem.com/jon-snow-white-people-being-called-white/

        Like

  6. Frank … thanks for your open invitation to tell you one of the key reasons I read your blog. The responses you have received so far I believe provide full support for the work you are doing as well as to continue your important service to the community even if only one person (as I believe Tony implied) reads it and acts upon it. As an example, when I forwarded one of your recent blogs to a Cathoic priest and he candidly admitted his racism when I saw him, that’s very telling and also segues to tell you why I read it.

    A couple of years ago I was called a racist by one of your readers and contributors, Howard Eagle who I considered (and still do) a friend and teacher, I was blown away. Without getting into a lot of detail, Sandy and I had recently taken his (and others) 10-week program on the real Black History and experience in this country. It was much more than a bunch of “aha” moments over the time of the program and we were shocked by the history we missed and were never taught growing up. In any event, we were asked to critique the program and its other ongoing work (which continues to be inspiring thru the labors of Howard and others). In my what I felt was an “objective” response, Howard labeled it and me as racist which of course I took great offense to since I thought it was the epitome of “enlightenment” which should help enlighten others! It took me some time, even up to now and no doubt ongoing, to realize that perhaps my white fragility was exposed and no doubt still thrives in other ways. Bottomline: this is ongoing work and and your blog consistently challenges me and your many readers to never think you’re there and beyond the insidiousness nature of racism in our world. Hopefully by our struggles and related actions today, our children, grand children, and future generations will be less inclined to repeat the mistakes of our racist history over the last several centuries.

    So thank you for letting me share this by your questions and I hope I’ve responded to some of them. I full-heartedly endorse Howard’s suggestions re: the RCSD and also suggest that you focus even more on Rothsten’s presentation last week on his book “The Color of Law” re: housing discrimination as well as the new Civil Rights movement he alluded to.

    Best regards for ongoing success … and questions! … Bill Wynne

    Like

    1. Bill,

      Thank you for acknowledging our friendship, and MAMA’s ( https://www.facebook.com/movementaction/ ) effectiveness as anti-racist educators. Your acknowledgement and testimonial means a lot — because as you know — we maintain that the most critical element relative to the possibility of widespread, fundamental, concrete, permanent, measurable, anti-racist change and improvement IS effective anti-racist education, which if maximally successful can lead to well-thought-out, calculated, strategic ACTION (the only thing that can; the only thing that has produced anti-racist change and improvement — period). This is, as you know, the reason why we titled and designed our 10-week EFA course in the specific manner that we did, e,g., we are attempting to educate for ACTION (EFA). The ultimate function of knowledge is that — it informs us what to do in order to achieve specific goals and objectives. Knowledge -for-knowledge’s sake is an idiotic idea (in the original sense and meaning of the term).

      We absolutely, categorically agree with your assertion that Frank’s blog represents an “important service to the community.” It’s probably the only blog in our region that is 100% dedicated to anti-racist education. That’s outstanding. However, as you would probably guess, we do NOT support the idea that it’s a significant factor, “even if only one person reads it and acts upon it.” The latter idea smacks of acute gradualism, which of course, we do NOT support or subscribe to. We believe, where many, perhaps even a majority of people are concerned, the pervasive lack of URGENCY regarding the dire need to confront / address the beast (http://minorityreporter.net/the-tripartite-beast-and-illness-of-individual-institutional-and-structural-racism/ ), which Frank has written about in the past, represents a major problem and issue.

      We really wish there was sold evidence to support the idea that because of “our struggles and related actions today, our children, grand children, and future generations will be less inclined to repeat the mistakes of our racist history over the last several centuries.” However, sadly, pitifully, all of the evidence seems to support the exact opposite:

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/06/23/millennials-are-just-as-racist-as-their-parents/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.396f229e4d3b
      ————————————————————————

      https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/03/millenials-race-115909
      ——————————————————————————————

      https://www.cbs46.com/news/are-millennials-less-racist-than-previous-generations/article_3e523423-99e3-5bf5-b3ec-ec0eca426020.html
      ——————————————————————————————–

      https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/ssqu.12488
      —————————————————————————–

      Etc… Etc… Etc…

      Bill it would be great if you and others would send RCSD officials and officials-Elect notes — informing them that you “endorse [our] suggestions re: the RCSD.

      What did “Rothstein’s presentation last week [include regarding] the [so-called] new Civil Rights movement he alluded to?” Which “new civil rights movement” is that?

      Like

      1. Interesting. My experience of young people is different, both in my family and among younger friends. They are much more tolerant and liberal in good ways, more radical about change, more in touch with suffering and oppression, and more open to learning.

        tschmaltzhome@cox.net

        602-499-5015

        Like

      2. “…much more tolerant and liberal in good ways…?” I hope that you don’t think being so-called “tolerant” is a virtue.

        “…more radical about change…” REALLY — how so (specifically)? “Radical” is a very strong term.

        “…more in touch with suffering and oppression…” REALLY — how so (specifically)?

        You remind me of a argument presented by the Late Brother Malik El Shabazz: https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4618921/danger-white-liberals

        585-752-1426

        Like

  7. Frank, please don’t go into fluff mode. If white folks get tired of hearing about racism, imagine how tired black folks must get about experiencing racism. If you lose a few readers, shame on them.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Frank, i think that what you are doing is important for you and that you should let your heart tell you how to proceed. It is the only way to effect the changes we care about.
    Unlike most of my McQuaid friends, i had ample opportunity to see the plight of inner city blacks while in High school. I grew up near the corner of Webster and Bay Streets, half a block from a park that had outdoor basketball courts. Boys my age and older came up from the projects to play 3 on 3 and in the summer league. They became my friends on the court because we respected each other over time,and i occasionally went down to the projects to play on “their turf”, always the only white person in sight. So when the riots happened in 1964 (i think) i understood.
    Shrila Prabhupad, the founder of the Hare’ Krsna movement outside India, once said that if only one of his devotees reached the eternal spiritual world he would consider his mission a success.
    And we have to do something that matters in this crazy world. A few months ago i moved to Ridgway, Colorado to work in a children’s program (around 20 five – eight year olds) and i absolutely love these kids and see that i matter in their lives! At 74 i have finally met my calling in life.I do my best to be 100% there for them, particularly those few i don’t much like. It turns out that i am a magnet for children and they seek me out to talk to about things that are important to them.
    So please keep posting and don’t be too concerned about the readers acceptance. The people who can profit from your blog will read it and you will continue doing something that matters to you.
    My niece teaches music in the inner city and i have gone to her concerts over the years.At first some of the children didn’t even show up, the few parents who came mostly chatted with each other during the performances, etc. Now they are a community event, with refreshments, full attendance by the kids, and respectful audiences. She simply loved the children and did whatever was necessary.
    Best wishes,
    Tony

    Like

    1. Tony,

      Laboring in the service realm is great, but doing so, does NOt (in and of itself) CHANGE EVIL, WICKED, UNJUST, RACIST SYSTEMS, which is, in my humble but staunch view, the most important task on earth.

      Like

  9. Why do you read this blog? What are you looking for, hoping for? I appreciate your in depth and thoughtful effort to educate yourself and share what you learn with others like me.
    Do you have any feedback or advice for me about writing on grim situations? Reading about grimness doesn’t turn me off – I need to know the truth. At the same time I do think it is also important to learn about effective practices and where actions/people are making a positive difference. A balance of both is most helpful to me.
    What topics are of particular interest? What would grab and hold your attention? I am especially interested in learning about people and places that are making significant progress on racial justice issues – who, how, etc. – both locally and elsewhere.

    Like

    1. Jane,

      Since you are “especially interested in learning about people and places that are making significant progress on racial justice issues – who, how, etc. – both locally and elsewhere,” I figured that you would be very interested in the following information below (happening right here in Rochester).

      REAL TEAM HISTORY

      The Rochester City School District’s Racial Equity Advocacy Leadership (REAL) team was established in September 2017.

      Our Coalition ( https://www.facebook.com/tidpc/ ) has been helping to lead and guide the initiative.

      THE TASK IS: Help develop/implement, and oversee a comprehensive Racial Equity Action Plan for the Rochester City School District.

      WHEN & WHERE: REAL MEETS AT ROCHESTER CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT CENTRAL OFFICE BUILDING (3RD FLOOR) — 131 WEST BROAD STREET (CORNER OF SOUTH PLYMOUTH AVENUE).

      IT’S OPEN TO EVERYONE. PLEASE JOIN US.

      ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND INFORMATION: The Rochester Board of Education institutionalized REAL during its January 24, 2019 Business Meeting, when the majority voted to “establish the Racial Equity Advocacy Leadership (REAL) team as a permanent body to work with the Superintendent to assist in the development, implementation and monitoring of the District’s Racial Equity Action Plan and to advise the Superintendent on racial equity issues within the school system. The REAL team shall also assist the Superintendent in racial equity strategic planning, annually evaluating the impact of current racial equity initiatives on student achievement and making commitments to address newly identified race-based inequities in order to ensure that racially equitable educational opportunities are being provided to all of the students who attend our schools.”
      ————————————————————————————————–

      The Rochester Board of Education institutionalized the REAL team during its January 24, 2019 Business Meeting. CHECK OUT THE DEBATE AND VOTE — BEGINNING AT THE “2:54:15” mark in the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Ug01Sx4g6U
      —————————————————————————————————-

      Adopted January 24, 2019

      Resolution No. 2018-19: 631

      Equity and Educational Excellence policy – 0201

      By Member of the Board

      Whereas, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires states and Local Educational Agencies (i.e., school districts and charter schools) to take a variety of actions to ensure that all children, regardless of race, socioeconomic status, gender, disability status, primary language, or ZIP code, receive the education that they need to be prepared for success in postsecondary education, careers, and citizenship; and

      Whereas, the New York State Education Department (NYSED) submitted its ESSA plan to the United States Department of Education (USDE) and on January 17, 2018, the USDE approved the State’s plan; and

      Whereas, under ESSA and NYSED’S ESSA Plan, school districts must identify and take various actions to address inequities; and

      Whereas, the Board adopted Policy 0201, Equity and Educational Excellence, on January 25, 2018 (Resolution No. 2017-18: 555); and

      Whereas, the Board of Education of the City School District directed the Superintendent to develop and implement a system-wide equity plan that will result in measurable academic improvements for all RCSD students; and

      Whereas, the Superintendent, informed by the NYC Leadership Academy (NYCLA) Racial Equity Logic Model, responded by establishing and convening the first meeting of the Racial Equity Advocacy Leadership (REAL) team in September 2017 to:

      · identify opportunities for partnerships with organizations in Rochester to co-sponsor Professional Learning;

      · review existing policies, programs and professional learning to ensure an understanding and use of racial equity analysis tools;

      · review equity policies, goals, strategies and measures to help inform and eliminate racial predictability and disproportionality in student achievement (e.g., disproportionate over-application of discipline to students of color, over-representation in special education, and under-representation in advanced learning programs);

      · actively work to ensure that Human Resource policies, goals and strategies promote a workforce that reflects the diversity of our student body;

      · promote leadership opportunities for students to develop agency (the capacity and propensity to take purposeful initiative); and

      Whereas, the REAL team has begun the development of a district-wide Racial Equity Action Plan to initially address the under-representation of race and class-conscious teachers of color in the District, the over-application of discipline to students of color; and the underdevelopment of District personnel in professional learning focused on anti-racist education; therefore be it

      Resolved, that in support of the goals of the Board’s Equity and Educational Excellence Policy 0201, the Board establishes the Racial Equity Advocacy Leadership (REAL) team as a permanent body to work with the Superintendent to assist in the development, implementation and monitoring of the District’s Racial Equity Action Plan and to advise the Superintendent on racial equity issues within the school system. The REAL team shall also assist the Superintendent in racial equity strategic planning, annually evaluating the impact of current racial equity initiatives on student achievement and making commitments to address newly identified race-based inequities in order to ensure that racially equitable educational opportunities are being provided to all of the students who attend our schools.

      The REAL team shall include the Superintendent and his/her designees as well as invited representatives from the following stakeholder groups: unions, parents, students, faith community leaders, education activists, and other community groups or individuals on the basis of interest, experience and expertise in racial equity and educational excellence.

      Like

  10. Here is a reply from Howard Eagle that was lost in the WordPress system somehow. He was not allowed to repost it, so I’m including it here:
    Frank,

    Why should we wait for “Candidate Forums [to] quiz candidates on these issues, and ask for their concrete plans to address structural racism in city institutions?”

    Where the Rochester Board of Education Election in particular is concerned — FOR ALL PRACTICAL INTENTS AND PURPOSES — IT’S ALREADY OVER. That is, as it relates to the Rochester Board of Education — anyone who knows anything at all about politics in Rochester —- knows that so-called “Democratic” Party PRIMARIES represent the only real elections — period.

    So again, why should we WAIT to start asking Board Commissioners, and Board-Commissioners-Elect “for their concrete plans to address structural racism in the [vital, thoroughly racist, white-supremacist-based] city institution” known as the Rochester City School District?

    WHY NOT START ASKING NOW???

    By the way, as you know well, the most serious, and most authentic initiative aimed at addressing structural racism in the vital, thoroughly racist, white-supremacist-based “city institution” known as the Rochester City School District — is one that you yourself have been associated with (REAL — Racial Equity Advocacy Leadership) team — period. So why don’t y’all ask Rochester Board of Education Commissioners, Board-Commissioners -Elect, and the new Superintendent about their positions regarding REAL’s ongoing efforts to address, not only “structural racism,” but the other two major forms as well, e.g. individual and institutional racism?

    Like

    1. Frank, thanks for reposting my comment “that was lost in the WordPress system somehow.” However, you omitted a vital part of the post. I had supplied readers with Board Commissioners, Board-Commissioners-Elect, and the new Superintendent’s email addresses — remember? The purpose was so that hopefully people will actually “START ASKING NOW” — REMEMBER? I also included a link to what I consider as being a critically important critique of the outcome regarding the recent “Democratic” Party Primary election. Hopefully, you are NOT censoring me again. HERE YOU GO:

      Judith.Davis@rcsdk12.org
      van.white@thelegalbrief.com
      cynthia.elliott@rcsdk12.org
      Terry.Dade@rcsdk12.org
      willa.powell@rcsdk12.org
      elizabeth.hallmark@rcsdk12.org
      Natalie.Sheppard@rcsdk12.org
      ricardo_ppu@yahoo.com
      akh1975@hotmail.com
      Beatriz.Lebron@rcsdk12.org

      http://minorityreporter.net/critique-of-a-yellowish-piece-of-journalistic-trash/

      Like

      1. By the way Frank, one reason why I appreciate your blog is because it provides me with one, among numerous platforms, that can be, and IS used to TEACH.

        Thank you.

        Like

  11. Frank, I read this blog for several reasons. It is well researched and written. Often it causes me to be uncomfortable about something in myself, an area I need to examine. The blog provides me excellent material to engage in conversations about white privilege, structural racism, institutional racism and more. The weekly frequency is a regular reminder that there is work to be done. Thanks

    Like

    1. Mr. Carpenter,

      I was glad to learn that you routinely read Frank’s (bi-weekly) blog. If you need and/or want “weekly frequency” — just let me know. I think FranK will attest to the fact that I will gladly provide you with LOTS of “well researched and [well] written excellent material to engage in conversations about white privilege, structural racism, institutional racism and more [— as a] reminder that there is work to be done.”

      I was also glad to read that Frank’s blog “often causes [you] to be uncomfortable about something in [your]self, an area [you] need to examine.” DO YOU KNOW WHAT IT (THE SOMETHING IN YOURSELF) IS????

      Check out the information below, and then let’s talk here (next time) —OK?

      https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/white-people-are-still-raised-be-racially-illiterate-if-we-ncna906646

      https://www.tolerance.org/magazine/summer-2019/whats-my-complicity-talking-white-fragility-with-robin-diangelo

      https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jan/16/racial-inequality-niceness-white-people

      https://stateofopportunity.michiganradio.org/post/why-all-white-people-are-racist-cant-handle-being-called-racist-theory-white-fragility

      Like

  12. Hi Frank,
    I appreciate your blog for the suggested action steps and because it gives me a sense of community. I feel stronger and better able to face all of the bleak news knowing there are others out there wrestling with the same thing. As a white person, I know I have unending work to do just to become a decent ally to People of Color, not to mention somehow becoming an agent of change. I think your blog is one way to shine a light, bear witness, and inspire. Thank you!

    Like

    1. Ms. MACOMBER,

      With all due respect, and yes I really mean it:

      “…not to mention somehow becoming an agent of change?” Really? So, you think it’s possible to “become a decent ally to People of Color” — WITHOUT also “becoming an agent of change?” NOt likely, in fact, Not possible. The two are inseparable. They go together — like hands and fingers; feet and toes; heads and hair, etc…

      Like

  13. Why do i read this blog? because as a deacon im supposed to be on the margins and be aware of what happens there, and bring it back to my middle class suburban church, if i have the courage. also i have a daughter who married a black man, bless her soul. keep up the good work frank

    Like

      1. Yeah Frank, I would REALLY love to witness him honestly and openly “diving into the meaning of that for” him. WHAT A LEARNING EXPERIENCE THAT WOULD BE!

        Like

    1. “…as a deacon [you’re] supposed to be on the margins and be aware of what happens there, and bring it back to [your] middle class [predominantly, if not exclusively, white, likely racist — in an institutional sense] suburban church,” AND INSIST THAT THEY DO SOMETHING!!!

      “bless her soul???” Damn — what about HIS “soul??”

      Like

      1. good point Howard. bless his soul too. it wont be easy for either of them but youth is our hope and salvation

        Like

  14. Frank, you are offering a great service by providing us all with your blog. Why? Because of the quandary itself. There is a test here for all of us, as to whether we can accept the quandary as such and live in and through it. A friend leant me recently a copy of Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now. I’m hoping you and others know it. It’s in the present moment of our consternation that we can discover the beauty and possibility of it. I’m sorry if that sounds abstract. It isn’t.

    Like

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