June 19, 2021
A year ago today, CT3 moved to honor Juneteenth as a holiday. We created space for our team members to engage in learning, collaboration, and action to acknowledge the oldest celebration that truly commemorates the end of slavery in our country.
What a difference a year makes.
Since March 2020, we have navigated the spaces created by the double pandemic of two deadly viruses: COVID-19 and racism. As we transitioned our work to succeed in the virtual space, we took a clear and deliberate stance against racism and made a number of commitments to operationalize that stance. You can find our commitments and our progress toward each here.
We took intentional steps to look in the mirror first, engaging our team members in collective learning about what it would mean for us to act against racism inside our organization and in our work. This internal focus, both more difficult and slower than ideal, laid the foundation for how we would need to move differently in ourselves, with each other and through our work.
This focus inward delayed the launch of redesigning our external work with anti-racism at the center, but it also helped that design work move faster because of the shared language and understanding we developed.
Now, we’re ready to launch our teacher and leader coaching work with our anti-racism pillars and definition integrated. Our team will show up in schools this year and help educators ensure they take ongoing action to rid our schools of racism and racist education. And in the spirit of ongoing action, we will continue to look inward, push one another along the ongoing journey toward anti-racism, and determine what actions come next in our Juneteenth commitments.
Kendi reminds us that this moment requires “persistent self-awareness, constant self-criticism, and regular self-examination,” and I am humbled by and hopeful about the work our team is about to launch. I am humbled that we are moving beyond the words and hashtags about anti-racism to drive real change in schools and build the capacity of the educators we serve to create the schools our children deserve. I am hopeful that as we continue to expand and deepen our fight against racism in schools — for it will never be finished — we will hold up to America a vision of herself that looks like what was written in her founding documents, even though those words weren’t originally intended for us all. I am hopeful that we will help educators apply the humanity and love they brought into schools to the paramount task of driving every child to academic, social, and cultural achievement.
In short, we have work to do. I hope you will join us in what should be a nationwide effort to identify, dismantle, and replace racist practices in our schools and society. Small changes are in the air; earlier this week, the House and Senate both passed legislation that would establish June 19 as Juneteenth National Independence Day, a US federal holiday, the first since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created in 1983. Now, let’s reconcile this performative move with the substantive work it demands — in curriculum, in instruction, and in assessment.
What a difference a year makes.
Statement from Nataki Gregory, Ed.D., CT3 CEO
CT3 transforms the quality and culture of education for youth, especially those in traditionally disenfranchised communities.