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Letter from the Director and Chair of the UGDSB (May 31, 2020)

May 31, 2020

The Upper Grand District School Board acknowledges the horrific incidents of violence in the United States and in Canada in recent weeks and days, including the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Regis Korchinki-Paquet. We recognize that these recent events follow a long list of tragedies, deaths and harm caused to Black people. 

Anti-Black racism is deeply rooted in our country, society, institutions and our history, and much work needs to be done to address this systemic racism.

As an educational community we have a responsibility to identify and describe racism and then work to dismantle it. Change requires persistent self-awareness, constant self-criticism and regular self-examination of our bias. We cannot remain comfortable with the status quo and deny that racism exists. Instead, we need to disrupt our own biases and stereotypes, model learning and vulnerability, and hold ourselves accountable. 

The UGDSB is continuing to work on moving our system into anti-racist practices and processes by having conversations, listening to the voices of those who experience racism on an ongoing basis, and taking action. 

We know that many people in our school communities are experiencing pain, trauma and grief following these tragic events. Our condolences go out to all those who are suffering. We will work to support those in need and hear the voices of our students, staff and families as we continue our work in anti-Black racism and equity. There is much work to be done. We are committed to doing what is right and confronting the racial inequities in our society.

Thank you,

Martha MacNeil, Chair of the Board 
Martha Rogers, Director of Education

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