On this National Day of Mourning, let’s be forthright. This has been a hard couple of weeks to try to go on with business as usual for us on staff at Texas OnCourse. We mourn with you, with the nation, and with the world over the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others who may never be named. George Floyd was raised in Houston. Maybe you knew him. Maybe you taught him. Maybe he was your neighbor, your relative, your student’s relative. Maybe you or your students knew Mike Ramos, Atatiana Jefferson, Botham Jean. Maybe this experience is dredging up past memories and traumas. We recognize that this is a difficult week for you, during a difficult year. We are deeply saddened, we are angry, we worry for the future of all our black and brown children. But we also have hope.
At Texas OnCourse our vision is for ALL Texas students to have a plan for success after high school. Unfortunately, this is not our current reality. In Texas and across the country, stark racial inequities exist in our education system. These inequities are the consequence of an oppressive system and result in disparities within postsecondary outcomes. This should disturb us and move us to action.
These disparities, after all, affect not just individual students – they have a wide-ranging impact on our state and nation. They prevent marginalized people from accessing a life that fulfills their potential and have restricted innovation and entrepreneurship in untold ways. They also go against the fundamental promise of Texas OnCourse’s work.
This is why, at Texas OnCourse, our work is centered on reducing educational inequities by ensuring equal access to information and resources, with a focus on communities that have historically received fewer resources. Texas has the largest black population compared to other states. There is a real opportunity and responsibility to improve resource availability. We have committed to certain steps to ensure that our organization contributes to a more equitable system for black students. This includes organizational changes to support racially just systems and practices.
Here is how we as an organization are taking responsibility:
- We will raise the voices of black leaders and educators in the college and career readiness and advising community.
- We will focus on professional development for our fellowship districts that centers the issues of discrimination and bias in advising in both P–12 and higher education.
- We will seek to ensure that majority-black districts can and do access our free resources.
- We will connect with our black colleagues, educators, students, and families, to ask what support they need, and what actions they would like to see happen. We invite you to do the same.
- We will talk to our broader communities about the issues of racism and racial violence in an effort to help them understand the realities black people face.
- Our diversity and inclusion committee will lead our organization's ongoing efforts to build and maintain an inclusive environment where differences of opinion, beliefs, values, experiences, and backgrounds are sought, listened to, respected, and valued.
We also commit to keeping these issues at the forefront of the dialogue in education. Keep your eye on our blog – this work will only continue.
The Texas OnCourse Diversity and Inclusion Committee