Black Parents in the South Orange/Maplewood School District
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Dear Members of the Board of Education,
We are Black parents of Maplewood and South Orange who would like to make it clear that the recent actions of the SOMA Black Parents Workshop do not represent all Black parents in this school district, specifically as it relates to the traffic incident involving one of your members.
We are not in alignment with the BPW with regards to its handling of this issue. In its press releases, the organization refers to itself as "we." It is unclear to us who this "we" is. The undersigned do not know who comprises the membership of that group and who specifically is supporting how it is dealing with this issue. There is only one person that signs the organization’s letters and press releases. It makes us uncomfortable that an organization who persistently and actively seeks national media attention for this local issue, a group whose actions align with white supremacists and alt-right activists and encourage them to leave death threats for a member of our community, claims to be the voice of Black parents. Moreover, it is alarming that this organization would release a video that reveals the identities of African-American children – students it claims to fight for – and put them in harm’s way. The group may have valid concerns in other areas, but this is not one with which we agree.
According to what it purports on its website's homepage, the "Black Parents Workshop is dedicated to the academic success of Black children in public schools." This insistence on continuing to press this issue seems to be emblematic of an organization moving away from its core mandate. As a result, these attacks appear personal and unrelated to the interests of the Black children in our community.
The undersigned, our *we*, is not interested in dividing our community due to personal interests or gain. *We* believe in a Black community that uplifts the children in our district. *We* believe in working with the Board to support meaningful integration and doing the work that is necessary to make sure our school system is fair and equitable for all children. *We* have a lot of work to do and must move forward.
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