Standing for (educational) justice in our nation

The FE Coalition of the NHCLC stands in solidarity with many around our nation who grieve over the death of George Floyd, a black man who was the victim of policy brutality.

As a Hispanic in America, there were times in which I sensed I may have been treated differently because of my skin color; however, I confess that I do not even begin to understand the lived experiences and emotions of Blacks and African-Americans who have been historically and discriminately mistreated through institutions that gave preferential treatment to others.

Blacks, Hispanics, and many other minority groups have been historically and discriminately mistreated through public education institutions in America. In the mid twentieth-century, Jim Crow Laws in the South kept blacks from attending quality schools with whites and more often than naught employed violent measures to maintain segregation, and my parents went through a time in South Texas when teachers punished Hispanics for speaking Spanish with unwarranted paddling, washing out their mouths with soap, or locking them in broom-closets.

Though discrimination may not appear as obvious to some as it did 60 to 70 years ago, the differential treatment of Blacks and Hispanics rears itself today, for example, through inequitable funding for public schools, different academic tracks based on English proficiency, inequitable access to high quality teachers, or dissimilar graduation standards by state and district.

As long as the majority of states and districts continue to assign students to schools (and consequently to learning opportunities) based on regions and zip codes, the FE Coalition will continue to advocate for education equity and justice to ensure that each student’s learning opportunity provides an adequate amount of resources to help him or her become college and career ready. Recent research from the Rutger’s University is just one of the most recent publications to remind us of the different amounts of funding needed to achieve national-average outcomes for students with different needs.

Today I ask, will you continue to stand in solidarity with the FE Coalition for (educational) justice in our nation?

I pray that the FE Coalition, together with you, can honor the memory of George Floyd and of many others who are victims of injustices in America by doing our part in standing for justice in America’s (education) systems. This is a large part of our work in the ministry of advancing Hispanic [and Black] student achievement, and the events unfolding over this past week only serve to remind us that our work has not yet finished.

Forward and higher in Christ, 

Rev. Girien R. Salazar
Executive Director, FE Coalition