April 21, 2021

 

Dear Breakthrough Families,

Breakthrough Public Schools respects yesterday’s verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial for the murder of George Floyd. While we are heartened by this ruling of the jury, the former officer’s conviction provides little solace for Mr. Floyd’s family, his community, and those everywhere impacted by a seemingly unending series of deadly acts of violence against Black men and other people of color in this country.

George Floyd’s death — one year ago next month — struck a deep chord among many. Indeed, it galvanized a broad movement for long-overdue change that has swept the nation and beyond in a concerted call for action. New accountability as suggested by yesterday’s verdict can build on that momentum. Let us mark this moment by coming together to stand with one another in solidarity — as a community united in shared purpose and driven by an unrelenting desire for a better, more equitable future.

Our most urgent job as an educational organization devoted to the advancement of underserved communities in Cleveland is to determine our role in helping to right historic wrongs and address current inequities. While we might not yet know exactly what that role looks like, or what the next step — or the next fifty — might be, we know without a doubt that there is much to do and that we are in a unique position to lead in this work.

Earlier today, a diverse group of Breakthrough community members representing a wide array of roles and identities came together to collectively process the data we have gathered thus far this year in our own anti-racist and inclusive journey. This group’s charge is to define the equity and inclusion priorities we will focus on as a network over the next three years. We will bring you along by sharing our progress and getting broader input into the work group’s emerging thinking over the next few weeks. We must all be partners and allies in this work.

This is a difficult time in our country — in our history — and we want you to know you are not alone as you try to reckon with its meaning and consequences. As we navigate the heartache and the opportunities for change, please know that we are stronger and better together.

 

With respect and appreciation,

Alan Rosskamm