Open Up Community,
As our country enters its 4th month of mourning, as black communities fight two viruses–COVID-19 and racism–as the helicopters circle above my Oakland home, the most meaningful words in this moment are Black Lives Matter.
Black communities are being beaten, broken, and killed at a significantly greater rate than others, and the root of that suppression is a 400-year old system built on the backs of their pain and perpetuated by divisiveness, hate, and ignorance. The blatant disregard for black lives is wrong and it needs to stop. Today, I reaffirm Open Up’s commitment to fighting for equity, continuing our own internal anti-racist and anti-biased education and growth, and standing with the black and brown leaders at the forefront of this fight. Our dedication to education and action continues with greater urgency than ever before.
To the non-black members of our community, this fight requires our voice. History has shown repeatedly that the voices of black Americans have not been honored. They have marched, boycotted, protested, written letters, and talked with our country’s leaders to no avail; meaningful change has not occurred in our country and systemic racism perniciously abounds. Black leaders have long told us that, for meaningful change to take root and for racism to truly be dismantled, every one of us must speak up about these harmful inequities. Let us now stand with our black brothers and sisters, lift up the voices of black leaders at the front lines of these issues, and demand the equality blacks deserve as citizens of this country. We must break this horrific cycle.
I urge you to reflect upon the truths this moment in history is revealing for you personally, and I hope you will not look the other way. If we choose to look the other way, we are perpetuating the very same cycle of ignorance from which we are seeking liberation. Let us look to black educators and exhibit empathy towards other members of our society who do not enjoy the same privileges because of the color of their skin.
Let this be a defining moment for our country and let us not forget this moment as we head into November. One of the most impactful things we can do as citizens of this democracy is vote. If you are not yet registered to vote in primary and national elections this year, I encourage you to do so at vote.org.
I remain optimistic for a day where we, as a nation, draw together to dismantle archaic, fear-based ideology and rebuild a society that prioritizes liberty and justice for all. Until then, we peacefully join the fight.
In love and solidarity,
Jessica Reid Sliwerski
CEO, Open Up Resources
- The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
- Warriors Don't Cry: A Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock's Central High by Melba Pattillo Beals
- Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
- Black Lives Matter
- Black Visions Collective
- Minnesota Freedom Fund
- Reclaim the Block
- North Star Health Collective
- Showing Up For Racial Justice
- Black Women’s Blueprint
Educators & Activists:
- Rachel Cargle: https://www.rachelcargle.com/
- Layla F. Saad: http://laylafsaad.com/
- Ibram X Kendi: https://www.ibramxkendi.com/
- Shaun King: https://www.shaunking.org/
- The Conscious Kid: https://www.theconsciouskid.org/
|Other Resources for Learning and Unlearning:
About Jessica Sliwerski:
Jessica is CEO of Open Up Resources. Previously, Jessica was the co-founder and Chief Academic Officer at the adaptive literacy software company LightSail Education. Her instructionally-focused product vision brought numerous awards to the organization, including the Digital Promise and Edsurge Digital Innovation in Learning Award, two ASU-GSV Return on Education VentureEd awards, and a Readers’ Choice Top 100 recognition from District Administration magazine. To learn more about Jessica, click here.
About Open Up Resources:
Open Up Resources is a 501c3 that exists to increase equity in education by making the highest quality curriculum freely accessible to educators and providing implementation supports to the broadest number of teachers, empowering them to effectively and sustainably improve student outcomes in pre-K-12 English Language Arts and Mathematics. To learn more about Open Up Resources' mission and work, click here.