This letter is being sent to D219 families in response to the hate crimes in Georgia yesterday.
Dear Members of our District 219 School Community,
Our Asian community has seen and experienced an increase in hate crimes since the inception of the COVID-19 pandemic. Last night, an incident occurred in which eight people were killed in Georgia. According to South Korea’s Foreign Ministry, diplomats in Atlanta have confirmed that four of the eight people were women of Korean descent. Six were women of Asian descent. While investigations are ongoing, this act of unspeakable violence is being categorized as a hate crime.
Hate has no home in District 219. We fully denounce any type of violence in our community and our extended community. Our hearts go out to all the victims’ families and friends of yesterday’s violence. Our district is a global village and we have students from all over the world. Right now, our Asian community and our students are grieving and hurt by the most recent hate crime in Georgia. When an incident like this occurs, the trauma is felt throughout the country, especially in schools. It is our responsibility as a community to come together and heal.
Our district is committed to being anti-racist. This means that we need to act through our systems and structures to show our support. We will ensure that our students have the opportunity to process the trauma in a safe environment with licensed professionals. We will have multiple avenues: affinity spaces, counseling support and adult connections throughout our schools — teachers, deans, staff, coaches, directors and more.
Any student who needs support should contact their counselor. Students can schedule a meeting with their counselor, whether the meeting takes place in person or remotely.
Every adult in our building has a connection to students and this is when we can heal through the power of community. Furthermore, we will ensure that our faculty and staff who are impacted by the trauma also have the space and support to process the most recent hate crimes.
The stress of a pandemic is already a significant burden, but now we also have to deal with unspeakable hate yet again. As the late John Lewis aptly characterized: “We are one people with one family. We all live in the same house… and through books, through information, we must find a way to say to people that we must lay down the burden of hate. For hate is too heavy a burden to bear.”
As a district, it is our moral imperative to: 1) keep our students and staff safe; 2) educate our students; and 3) graduate them into a world knowing the difference between right and wrong.
Hate has no home in District 219.
Dr. Steven Isoye
Superintendent of Schools
Niles West Principal
Dr. James Edwards
Niles North Principal