As protests against racial injustice have grown this year, there has also emerged a dual push to establish anti-racism policies and practices within institutional systems that have perpetuated racial injustices and inequities throughout American history. In response to this movement, the eleven Marion County school superintendents, representing about 135,000 students, have issued joint support for a United Against Racism statement.
The Indianapolis Recorder and the Greater Indianapolis Branch of the NAACP have extended invitations to these local superintendents to participate in a two-part virtual education forum to discuss their recently announced pledges to help eradicate systemic racism. These district leaders will reveal their plans to build learning communities that practice cultural competence, eliminate implicit bias, and drive their efforts to learn, apply, and teach anti-racism with urgency and intentionality in their school communities. While sharing their implementation goals, plans, strategies and timelines, they will also provide context for how their districts will work to help substantially reduce the academic disparities of far too many Black students in their districts.
Although many organizations and agencies have stated Black Lives Matter, the NAACP and the Indianapolis Recorder are committed to ensuring that these sentiments are turned into achievable actions that make a difference in our community for its Black residents. This forum offers a chance for the community to hear how our school leadership teams will act on their pledges.
The superintendents participating in part 1 are: Dr. Shawn Smith, MSD Lawrence Township; Dr. Jeff Butts, MSD Wayne Township; Dr. Flora Reichanadter, MSD Pike Township; Dr. Timothy Hanson, MSD Warren Township; and Patrick Mapes, Perry Township Schools.
The moderators for both forums are Dr. Khaula Murtadha, associate vice chancellor for the Office of Community Engagement at IUPUI, and Dr Joseph Tucker Edmonds, assistant professor of Religious Studies and Africana Studies at IUPUI. Each forum will spotlight the efforts of designated districts within the city. “United Against Racism” forum part 1 will occur 6-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 27. You may preregister for the Zoom virtual forum here.