The first resolution of its kind was developed through collaboration with district staff, leadership, community feedback and engagement.

At its meeting Tuesday night, the Salem-Keizer Public Schools Board of Directors voted 4-2 to approve a resolution recognizing the board and district’s commitment to equity and anti-racism. One board director was absent. It is the first time a resolution of its kind was introduced in SKPS.

Building inclusive environments

“The board is committed to combating racism through bold anti-racist measures that are strategic and intentional. An important step in this is communicating this position publicly, yet understanding being anti-racist goes beyond making a public statement by continuing to be learners and action-takers,” said Board Chair Osvaldo Avila on behalf of the board. “Being anti-racist means looking deeply at systems, policies and curriculum that oppress our diverse populations. It involves making real changes so we can change predictable outcomes related to disproportionate discipline and achievement rates.”

In part, the resolution states:

WHEREAS every student must feel safe, welcome, and fully included in their school community; and when students are alienated from their school communities and experience bias and discrimination, they are inherently less safe psychologically, emotionally and physically and it hinders their ability to learn and grow; and we must build inclusive environments that empower students and employees to thrive.

The resolution is central to SKPS’s vision

Although this is the first resolution of its kind to be formally introduced by the Salem-Keizer School Board, the commitment to equity has been, and will continue to be, central to the district’s vision. Over the past several years, the district has implemented many systems to support the district’s growth toward fully equitable and inclusive systems including the development of the district’s Office of Student Equity, Access and Advancement.

Doing the work

“This is hard, deep, and often painful work as we grapple with racism and biases in our personal and professional lives and the impacts on our students, families, and staff of color,” said Superintendent Christy Perry. “This resolution is a beginning – we are “resolving” to commit to equity and antiracism, now and into the future. The work of dismantling racism is never finished. Racism impacts all of us, and we must stand up, take action and press on together to right wrongs, and change our world for our kids.”