Demand Anti-Racist Policies and Actions from Harborfields CSD

Demand Anti-Racist Policies and Actions from Harborfields CSD

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HFamily Equity Initiative started this petition to Harborfields CSD Board of Education

***Let your voice be heard! If you are a member of the Harborfields community and want to share your experiences with race and identity within the District, please fill out a testimonial here. These testimonials will be presented to the Board of Education at the July 7th meeting. You do not have to include your name should you wish to remain anonymous. While all voices are welcome, please keep in mind that this platform intends to elevate the voices of marginalized communities at HF. ***

***Also, please DO NOT donate to this petition, as all the money goes to change.org, not the HFamily Equity Initative. The HFEI is not accepting donations either.***

To the Harborfields CSD Board of Education:

The recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, and countless others at the hands of police officers have reignited the national conversation about systemic racism in the United States. The deaths of these Black Americans are horrific, yet unsurprising. The United States—including Long Island—suffers from centuries of racial oppression and inequity. The violence against Black Americans is a symptom of this country’s long history of white supremacy. We want to state unequivocally: Black Lives Matter.

Harborfields claims to celebrate diversity and inclusion, but in reality, it is an institution that perpetuates the racist norms of our culture. The student body at Harborfields is 74% white (compared to the New York State public school average of 43%) and only 4% of HF students identify as Black (compared to the 17% average in New York State public schools). Of the more than 250 educators employed by the Harborfields School District, less than a dozen are Black. These statistics illustrate that Harborfields is a living monument to racial segregation. People of Color, especially Black students and faculty, are isolated as an extreme minority at Harborfields. Because of this, racist incidents, policies, and teachings at HF go unrecognized and are even allowed to thrive. As it stands, the current demographics, curricula, and culture at Harborfields are tools used to perpetuate white privilege while simultaneously suppressing the identities of marginalized groups.

On June 3rd, Dr. Ianni, superintendent of the District, wrote a letter to the HF community regarding the death of George Floyd. This letter, while affirming Harborfields’ “core values of acceptance and appreciation for diversity,” failed to recognize the systemic racism that oppresses Black Americans, failed to affirm that Black Lives Matter, failed to address the pervasive culture of white privilege and white supremacy at HF, and failed to offer any actionable steps in the fight against racism.   

Acknowledging that racism exists is simply not good enough. A true commitment to educating the students of the future includes the incorporation of actively anti-racist values into the educational framework. 

In response to the shortcomings of the District to adopt an actionable stance against racism, a group of Harborfields alumni have formed the HFamily Equity Initiative. Our goal is to initiate conversations about racism in Harborfields and propose anti-racist policies to cultivate a culture of social justice and equity. We believe that Harborfields must review and amend its goals, hiring methods, curricula, and administrative practices in order to uphold the District’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. This petition is just the first step in creating an anti-racist educational environment for everyone in the Haborfields community.

The full petition, including a list of action items can be found here.

In order to further the current dialogue between students, alumni, teachers, administrators, and other community members, we expect a written response from the Board of Education that directly addresses our petition and list of action items by July 31st, 2020. We hope this initiative leads to successful anti-racist change in the upcoming school year. The HFamily Equity Initiative emphasizes that without concrete action taken to reform the educational framework under which Harborfields currently operates, any claims of providing a racially equitable education are demeaning and deceitful.

Signed,

The HFamily Equity Initiative

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At 1,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!