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Dear students, families, staff, and supporters of Morris Jeff Community School,

I am deeply saddened and angry about the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery (and too many more to count). My heart aches. Our students of color are our sons and daughters and it is our job as educators to protect them from fear, intimidation, and injustice. These tragic events are stirring many emotions within all of us, but one certainty remains – unjust killing must be condemned. For far too long we wanted to pretend our country was ensuring “liberty and justice for all,” but that has never really been the case.  What has been laid bare these past weeks is the systemic racism that has been inflicted against our black and brown neighbors for the entirety of our country’s history.  It is time that we all acknowledge this reality and deliberately start to work to fix it. 

Over the past few months and this week we have also seen some of the best of our country – peaceful protests, communities supporting those who have lost their jobs, are sick or have lost loved ones.  Morris Jeff Community School represents the best of this country and this city. 

Founded on the intentional integration of students and families from around our city, Morris Jeff Community School prides itself in celebrating our diversity and honoring the culture and traditions of every student, employee, and family.  Our mission is to “offer an education that is a source of freedom and possibility. This is our life work – now more than ever – there must be freedom for all, or possibility is for none. There is no place in our school or our country for hate, racism, and bigotry. We seek to model and we teach our students to be caring and open-minded towards one another and their community. We cannot overlook the continued threat of racism that permeates our country. Our failure to rebuke these realities would be a travesty. We believe we should be agents of change to actively work together towards a better, more just society for our children. We stand with all families, teachers, and staff in our community to seek an end to racial profiling and violence against our black and brown neighbors.  

In the words of the esteemed poet, novelist, fiction writer, and playwright, Langston Hughes: 

Let America be America again …
                 It never was America to me.  

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe …
                        (an excerpt from Let America be America Again

With much love and appreciation for each of you,
Patricia Perkins