July marks Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, bringing awareness to the struggles that Black, Indigenous, and other people of color disproportionately face regarding mental health in the United States. We are reminded that health disparities between racial groups are the direct result of historic and present day structural and interpersonal racism.
We are excited to announce that our newsletter will be returning to its original weekly release schedule so we can properly announce all of our upcoming Summer projects in a timely manner.
This past Saturday marked Juneteenth, a holiday commemorating the emancipation of the last enslaved people in the United States. On June 19th, 1865, Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas carrying the message of emancipation to the town, years after Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. While FEC agrees that this important holiday should be acknowledged and honored, like with its recent designation as a federal holiday, symbolic measures are entirely insufficient in reaching the goal of racial equity.
Happy Pride Month! As we celebrate the LGBTQIA community, we are reminded that this observance started as a commemoration of the Stonewall Riots of 1969, a watershed moment for what was then called the Gay Liberation Movement that sparked the modern fight for queer* rights. Queer love and identity has historically been, and in many ways still presently is, an act of defiance. We honor our LGBTQIA friends, family, community members and fellow humans this month and will be highlighting different events, readings and videos to share more about the history of Pride and the struggles that persist to this day for the LGBTQIA community.
Earlier this month, two siblings in Fairfield were the target of separate racist attacks from other high school students in town. Coverage of these horrific events reached all around the world, from local news sources like the Patch to the Daily Mail in the UK. The Fairfield Equity Coalition condemns these racist acts in the strongest manner and is working to develop tangible actions with the district and town to create full and restorative justice. You can view our full statement on these incidents from our President and Community Outreach Overhead here.
As we mentioned in our previous newsletter, FEC has partnered with CT Murals to create a large-scale, professional mural done by a local artist that will depict themes of equity alongside local and national civil rights leaders. We presented this idea to the Board of Selectman two weeks ago and received majority support; now, we are looking for an appropriate location for the mural. We encourage any of our readers who know of a business with a large, blank outdoor wall that might be interested in this project to contact us by email.
Content warning: police violence and murder discussed. We are horrified by the continued unjustified murders of unarmed Black people and people of color by police across the country. In recent weeks, we learned of the separate killings of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old father living in the Minneapolis area, and Adam Toledo, a 13-year-old child from Chicago. Both of these murders call for the immediate need for a total transformation of our policing systems.
Content warning: Anti-Asian Violence. In the last two weeks, FEC has shared several different posts on our Instagram regarding the recent surge in Anti-Asian violence and the tragic mass shooting in Atlanta. Check out our page for resources: a historical perspective on the recent tragedies, ways to support the victims and their families, and materials to help unlearn our unconscious biases.
Content warning: Anti-Asian Violence. Early last week, 8 innocent lives were lost over the course of three deadly shootings in Atlanta-area spas; 6 of the victims were Asian women. Anti-Asian racism and violence is not a new phenomena in our nation's history. The uptick in harassment, violence - and now, murder - against Asian Americans is partially attributable to the racist and xenophobic rhetoric spewed by our former president and the Republican Party - reigniting hatred long held in this country towards our Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities.
In the last two weeks, FEC has been closely monitoring Fairfield's budgetary process, with a particular focus on the discussion surrounding our town's education budget. We are keeping a detailed account of what cuts and re-allocations are being proposed.
As we enter the last full week of Black History Month, we hope our readership has been able to celebrate the contributions of Black people to our past and present. See this article highlighted in our last newsletter to continue your reading and celebration of this month! As March approaches, we must remind ourselves that the celebration of Black lives and history should be done year-round and incorporated into our daily lives. Check out our social media pages to see how we as a coalition have celebrated Black History by highlighting both prominent and under appreciated Black thinkers, leaders, and events.
Happy Black History Month! This month celebrates the achievement of Black Americans throughout our nation's history to the present day. Given the fact that Black history and perspectives are so often overlooked in American society - be it in our politics, education, or popular media, to name a few examples - it is important that we move beyond superficial displays of solidarity and deeply explore the true history of Black people in the United States.
In the last two weeks, FEC has been transitioning to a new structure for our post-report advocacy with FPS. We are continuing to work with the district to establish a working group comprised of representatives from all of the equity groups in town. We hope this body will help distinguish between the reforms that can be implemented immediately and the more long-term initiatives that require budgetary and statutory considerations.
We are happy to report that our presentation to the Board of Education and FPS officials last week was a success! We thank the BOE and everyone at the presentation for their time and consideration. If you missed the presentation, it is still available on YouTube. As always, we want to hear from the FPS and Fairfield communities about their perspectives on anti-racism in education, and specifically, their responses to our report. Please share your thoughts with us using our Report Feedback Form.
This week, we are scheduled to present the contents of our report "Promoting Anti-Racism and Racial Equity in Fairfield Public Schools" to the Fairfield Board of Education and FPS officials. Our special meeting will take place this Wednesday, January 6th at 8:00 PM. We thank the BOE for granting us this special session so the work of anti-racism can be given the attention it deserves. The presentation will be streamed live on YouTube and then re-broadcasted on FairTV.
The day has finally come: it's FEC's Publication Day! After months of research, collaboration, drafting, and revision upon revision, our report entitled "Promoting Anti-Racism and Racial Equity in Fairfield Public Schools" is published and available to any and all interested in its contents. Its summary "At-A-Glance" document is also available online, along with the data we collected from FPS former and current students and teachers and staff.
As the end of this year nears, FEC is eagerly finalizing the very last items to our months-long equity work and collaboration. After beginning this initiative in late May of this year, we are thrilled to finally share the fruits of our labor.
Unfortunately, we will not be presenting our report "Promoting Anti-Racism and Racial Equity in Fairfield Pubic Schools" on this Wednesday like previously mentioned. The district has a last-minute Board of Finance meeting that night which could not be changed. While we are disappointed that we are not presenting this week, we are rescheduling our presentation to the first week in January when the BOE and district officials can give the proper attention and care to our report and its findings.
This week, we are excited to announce that our presentation has been moved from Tuesday, December 8th, to a special session on Wednesday, December 16th. This special session will exclusively focus on our Promoting Anti-Racism and Racial Equity in Fairfield Public Schools Report. We appreciate the Board of Education's willingness to call a special session so the contents of our report can be given
appropriate time and consideration.
This week, our Data Committee is continuing to analyze the many responses we received from our second Teacher and Staff Survey on Anti-Racism and Racial Equity in Fairfield Public Schools. We are encouraged to see many responses that suggest a strong desire for reforms. Select data from this survey will appear in the form of direct, anonymous quotations from respondents, organized by the relevant Actionable Change, as well as summary statistics referenced throughout our report on promoting anti-racism and racial equity in FPS.
Last week, our second Teacher and Staff Survey was distributed through FPS channels. We greatly appreciate Superintendent Cummings and the Board of Education for approving and administering what is the final piece of our report on promoting anti-racism and racial equity within FPS. Both the survey results and report at large will be presented to the Board of Education on Tuesday, December 8th. As a coalition that advocates on behalf of the Fairfield community, we encourage everyone interested in the conversation around anti-racism and racial equity to tune into our presentation on FairTV that evening.
This past week, the Board of Education approved our second Teacher and Staff Survey for dissemination through district channels. We encourage any and all FPS
employees to respond to this survey with their personal experiences concerning the topic of race within the school district. We hope these responses further ground our report by highlighting the perspectives of FPS faculty and staff.
This past week, our coalition took a brief moment and paused our work while our U.S. elections finished. This election cycle was chaotic and, like everything else,
complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that most races have been called and ballot counting has nearly finished, we are reminded that elections are important, yet insufficient, to produce substantive change. We as a community must hold elected officials -- regardless of political party -- accountable as we fight for the causes in which we believe.
Last week, our President, Lynnaija Brevard, and Editorial Executive, Ian Leighton, gave the coalition's initial presentation to the Board of Education. After months of
close talks and collaboration, we thank the Board of Education and FPS leadership for scheduling this special session on equity, and we are excited to present our report in full come December.
Last week, our Publicity Committee began publishing a social media series on voting and election FAQs. Because voting by mail in Connecticut is well underway, the election ends on Tuesday, November 3rd; please visit our social media pages if you have not yet voted to make sure you can cast your ballot in time.
As discussed last week, FEC has developed a timeline with the district that culminates with the presentation of our report on promoting racial equity in Fairfield Public Schools in early December. We are excited to share our
recommendations with the district and Fairfield community and are preparing diligently for December!
We are happy to announce that FEC has solidified a timeline for presenting our report on promoting racial equity in FPS. This past week, our leadership met virtually with Superintendent Cummings, the Executive Director of Operations and Processes, Dr. Parrish, and the Chair of the Board of Education (BOE), Ms. Vitale, to discuss the timeline for both the dissemination of our Teacher Survey
and presentation of our full report to the BOE. We thank these district leaders for their time.
This past week, FEC focused on the logistical processes of presenting our report to the Board of Education. We are continuing to work closely with FPS administrators and the BOE to approve our Teacher Survey for dissemination
within district channels. The perspectives of FPS teachers and staff are essential to include in our report, along with the experiences of students, so that we are reminded that these issues are as relevant in Fairfield as anywhere else.
Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond to our two new surveys this past week. Your narrative responses will be included in our report and will further
ground our research and Actionable Changes in the perspectives of Fairfield students, teachers and staff. These personal stories remind us that the issue of racism in education is not merely an abstract and distant problem, but one that is specific and immediate in FPS.
This week, we are excited to release our new surveys. As mentioned in our last newsletter, these surveys, for both teachers and current/former students, will ask for more personal stories and perspectives to further ground our report in the Fairfield community. We were able to analyze valuable summary statistics from our first surveys; now we seek narrative responses to be anonymously quoted in our report.
We hope last week's school reopening went as smoothly as possible for all of FPS's teachers, staff, students, and families. We are happy to announce that our report on working towards racial equity is nearly finished. We will be sending out a new survey shortly to gain more student perspectives to personalize our ten Actionable Changes. It is crucial to ground our research and activism in the stories
shared directly from FPS's student body.
FEC spent the past week reaching out to community organizations and leaders. As we prepare to publish our report, we want to include as many members of the
Fairfield community in the ensuing discussion on working towards racial equity within Fairfield Public Schools. Our efforts to promote racial equity in FPS must include those who are directly responsible for implementing these changes for the wellbeing of all students.
This week, we continue to post our Actionable Change teasers. We appreciate the conversation these posts have generated and hope they will develop into larger discussions with the Board of Education and Fairfield community. As we articulate in the outset of the report, the fight for racial equity is not merely some abstract mission for others to engage in, but a campaign that requires collective action and a sustained effort from the entirety of a community.
As we begin the week, FEC is entering a new and exciting period of transition. Once the full report is published and submitted to the Board of Education and Superintendent Cummings, we hope the public at large will engage with our analysis and recommendations. Educational reform cannot happen overnight and without the support of our community members; we hope our report will re-ignite this conversation!
This was another busy week for our coalition. As promised, our Publicity committee has released videos introducing our Co-Presidents, Max Ludlow and Lynnaija Brevard, and our Executive team. We encourage you all to check these
videos out on Instagram to get to know those who are leading the wonderful members of FEC!
Last week, Connecticut was hit by Tropical Storm Isaias. We hope everyone across Fairfield and the state remained safe and healthy during the storm and throughout its days-long aftermath. Because of widespread power outages, our report preparation was momentarily stalled. We appreciate the flexibility our members have shown as we adjust our plans around Isaias's impact.
As we finalize our report on guaranteeing equity in Fairfield Public Schools, our Local and Nation/State Policy committees have provided additional support to our Editorial committee to ensure our claims are supported by the most recent and accurate research. FEC is committed to producing quality and detailed information to the public in our push towards equity in education.
This past week, we coalesced many of our separate projects into a singular, unified effort. For the past month, both of our Local and National/State Policy committees have compiled extensive research on a wide range of educational reforms. Taking their hard and detailed work, the Editorial committee has been busy divvying up and drafting each section of our forthcoming report on guaranteeing equity within Fairfield Public Schools.
This week, we welcomed our new Co-Presidents, Maxwell Ludlow and Lynnaija Brevard! We are incredibly excited and fortunate to have them as our leaders moving forward. We also restructured our coalition and have officially
organized our 90+ members into our 11 committees.
This week, we began researching potential obstacles to implementation of our initial demands for our report on anti-racism in FPS. We also launched our social media sites and worked to establish connections with our community through meetings with local politicians, PTA members, teachers, and more.
Over the past few weeks, current students and alumni of Fairfield Public Schools (FPS) have joined together with the common goal of reforming our education system. We now have over 50 members and our membership is expanding every day. Currently, our main project is our “Anti-Racism in Fairfield Public Schools” report which will consist of students’ stories surrounding racism within FPS, a list of our demands, and our shared vision of implementation of these demands.