Monday, June 1, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Institute for Educational Leadership’s President Johan E. Uvin and Chair of the Board of Directors Dr. Karen Mapp issued the following joint statement on June 1, 2020:
George Floyd, an unarmed black man, died after Derek Chauvin, a white Minneapolis police officer, handcuffed and murdered him in broad daylight and on camera for the world to see. Chauvin kneeled on Mr. Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds, ignoring his pleas for help. Mr. Floyd died as a result of this horrific act.
Mr. Floyd’s murder is the most recent instance of police brutality and racially motivated violence against black men, women, and children. Our society and institutions are structured to perpetuate inequality across generations. It’s these centuries-old, entrenched systemic inequities that give law enforcement a sense of privilege, self-righteousness, and protection from the law that is supposed to protect and serve. And it’s these deeply rooted inequities that continue to go unaddressed and unsolved that made what happened to Mr. Floyd possible.
The Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) and its Board of Directors condemn this violence. It is inhumane. We are calling on everyone to collectively Rise UP for equity and justice for Mr. Floyd and all the black men, women, and children killed, injured, or treated unjustly as a result of police aggression. We Rise UP for all people of color, immigrants, refugees, and people with disabilities who have been the victims of hate crimes; for all who are not afforded the self-evident truths that we are all created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
We acknowledge the systemic racism that has been laid bare over the past few months – whether through the higher rates of illness and death in black and brown communities due to COVID 19, to the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, or the Central Park incident between Amy Cooper and Christian Cooper, and, now, the death of George Floyd. And unlike George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and so many others, there are too many victims whose experiences never make headlines or whose names never become public.
The education system, like other systems in our country, has inequality baked into it, and it’s taken far too long to translate ideas into action or systemic and sustainable change. The most recent events show just how far we still have to go.
At IEL, our work is focused on challenging and changing these systems of oppression within our educational system by providing leadership development for local, state, and national educational leaders, and we have been doing this work for over 50 years.
We provide a safe and equitable space, both physical and psychological, for our staff and constituents to come together and create a unified voice and a set of actions for greater equity.
As part of our Rise Up for Equity strategy, IEL works with local leaders to identify and eliminate systemic barriers to create policies, conditions, practices, and cultures for everyone to succeed. Much of that work focuses on communities where leaders need the support and training to address and disrupt inequities in opportunities where resources have been absent due to systemic racism, sexism, classism, and ableism.
Now is not the time to remain silent. We are calling on ourselves, our partners, and our networks to Rise UP and embrace equity and inclusion, work through our differences, and challenge and disrupt, once and for all, these systemic injustices.