On Monday I sent a message to our team and yesterday to our community via social channels to create space to talk about the recent horrific events and the long history of injustice that led to them.
As an engineer by training, I tend to jump towards figuring out solutions for the long term. What can we do? Together, I believe our community can have a positive impact on peoples’ lives. Outschool connects kids from different backgrounds, geographies and other divides to have positive experiences together that build empathy. We give kids access to knowledge, such as the value and history of direct action, that they may not have access to locally or within their family.
We believe too that education and dialogue can go a long way to making the world a better place for all. Empathy is a powerful tool for healing what seems like insurmountable obstacles. The more we connect the more we can learn from one another. Here at Outschool we want to help.
At Outschool we support learners from all backgrounds. We want these learners, parents and teachers to know we stand with them and we want them to feel heard. To create an inclusive community we must make extra effort to support minority communities who have experienced enough pain and discrimination.
Here at Outschool:
- We believe that Black Lives Matter and we stand with our Black learners, teachers, parents, and the Black community as a whole.
- We stand for their right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.
- We stand for our right to protest without fear of violence or intimidation.
- We stand against those officers who abuse their power and needlessly take the lives of Black men and women and anyone complicit who stands by and does nothing.
- We stand against those in power who ignore, minimize, and sometimes openly support racial injustice, inequality and violence.
As Outschool community members have connected this week, they’ve shared their stories, their pain and their commitments to these beliefs. They’ve also shared their hopes and plans for helping young learners engage with challenging issues of race and injustice.
“As an Afro-Latina who is sometimes afraid if my 22 year old Black son will be stopped by the cops any day, I can offer a listening ear and a loving and positive answer [to learners],” Outschool teacher Jenniffer Saldaña Whyte
We were truly moved by comments from parents and teachers in the Outschool community who are committed to using learning and dialogue to make a difference.
Steps we are taking based on community and employee feedback:
- Outschool will offer a charitable donation matching program moving forward for all employees. Many are choosing to donate to causes related to racial injustice.
- This weekend we sent out a learner survey to empower children to share their experiences and their feelings during this time. Our goal is to give Outschool learners a voice and connect children from across the country to share their perspectives that may not otherwise be heard.
- We will create an advisory council to support our class quality efforts and help ensure that Outschool classes discuss racial injustice in an appropriate and consistent way.
- We are working on an initiative to create and elevate classes that sensitively handle racial injustice, civil rights, and minority leaders and historical figures.
We cannot make positive changes if we can’t learn from our past and collaborate with our children for a more just vision of the future.