We are in uncertain times. COVID-19, millions of lost jobs and the brutal killing of George Floyd has had a profound impact on all of us. The José Valdés Math Foundation enrolls and supports elementary, middle and high school aged students in our tutoring and summer programs. Our focus is on children and youth from low income families; almost all are people of color. In times like these, our constituents’ voices and needs are typically left out of important conversations and decisions. They have the highest number of Coronavirus cases, they are the first to lose their jobs and now, our students, see that their very lives are threatened by those who are supposed to protect them.
The very essence of our democracy is being threatened. On behalf of our students and their families, the José Valdés Math Foundation reaffirms its support of the constitutional right to express our collective concerns to join with others in support of peaceful demonstrations and denounce the hatred and racism that has been inflicted on people of color. Sweeping change in health care, protection of jobs and reversal of the injustices exacted on poor people must take place. Moreover, it is critically important that we, as a unified people, support the peaceful protests taken by those who share in the belief that #BlackLivesMatter and that all people deserve to be respected and protected from police brutality, racism and other institutionalized practices that serve to dehumanize and mistreat blacks and other people of color.
We ask you to join us in taking action to eliminate police brutality, racism and other institutionalized forms of oppression through the actions and resources recommended below:
· Contributing to grassroots organizations that are currently on the ground protesting and supporting protesters including the Minnesota Freedom Fund, Black Visions Collective, Louisville Community Bail Fund, Columbus Freedom Fund as well as local police accountability efforts through Silicon Valley DeBug.
· Helping to protect local protesters by providing them with needed supplies, including water, food, masks, unmarked clothing, hand sanitizer and bottles of baking soda with water to help neutralize tear gas.
· Being mindful of specific language. Words like riot, rioting, rioters, looting, and looters are racialized and used to criminalize black communities. Consider others words like uprise, uprising, and uprisers. To uprise is to ascend–it is the practice of standing up against violence and one’s own and community’s dehumanization.
· Sharing information about local black mental health, support, and community services from Ujima Family Recovery Services, Black Leadership Kitchen Cabinet of Silicon Valley, and the African American Community Services Agency of San Jose.
· Listening to black people with humility and raw openness.
· Reading and implementing 75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice.
· Taking action through ADHOC.
· Ensuring that our SJECCD programs, trainings and services are designed to produce culturally competent students and employees who will contribute to and advance our values of Opportunity, Equity and Social Justice.
· Contributing to grassroots law project and following co-founder Shaun King, who organized and led efforts to bring arrest charges against Ahmaud Arbery’s killers.
· Providing safe, healing places where students can express their fears, frustrations and ideas to be supported, heard and further educated.
· Providing safe, healing places where staff, faculty and administrators can do the same.
· Providing safe, healing places where the community can do the same.
· Educating people about the importance of voting and participating in politics, especially at the local level where criminal justice and policing practice are developed.
· Providing access to books, readings and other materials on racism and police brutality;