Dear Hays CISD Family,
Nine days ago, nearly nine heartbreaking minutes were captured on video. In those minutes, George Floyd was murdered. Today, all four of those responsible were finally criminally charged. Mr. Floyd’s murder has opened, yet again, a suffering in America that continues to wound our collective soul.
Following the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., his close confidant and Civil Rights Movement icon in his own right, former Atlanta Mayor and UN Ambassador Andrew Young, has said, “We were never concerned with who killed Martin Luther King, but what killed Martin Luther King” – an observation that still haunts us more than 50 years later. It is my hope and commitment that, this time, we can all do our part to unite in the cause of love and healing. Silence on the matter is no longer acceptable, because it is tantamount to complicity.
Words are important, but it is action that matters most. So, today, I am announcing the creation of the Hays CISD Diversity Advisory Council. This group will be a standing committee that will include teachers, staff, parents, our partners in law enforcement, and students – all representing the different voices from our district. They will advise us on important policy and operational recommendations and decisions from the perspective of equity, social justice, fairness, understanding, and respect. We will work this summer to create the initial framework and scope of this advisory council so that it can be in place to begin accepting members when we return to school this fall. This new council is not the solution. It will not change hundreds of years of history overnight or by itself. And, it won’t have a global or national reach. It is, however, a start – a step our school district can take on this journey – something we can do right now, at home. Public education is the great equalizer that preserves and makes possible a strong democracy. We need to do all we can to ensure there is no place for hate, racism, or discrimination in Hays CISD.
Our school district consists of nearly 21,000 students, twice as many parents, and some 3,000 employees. We are a rich tapestry of community with people who come from different life experiences, and who represent all colors, abilities, genders, orientations, and creeds. We, like all school districts and communities, are no strangers to past wrongs, but our hearts are pure and we remain steadfast in our desire to continue to bend the arc toward justice.
Yesterday, we heard from George Floyd’s family for the first time, including his six-year-old daughter Gianna. She is the same age as some of our youngest students in Hays CISD. As the father of two daughters and two step-daughters myself, Gianna’s words struck right in the center of my heart. She said, “Daddy changed the world.” Through all of the tragedy, pain, and loss surrounding her father’s death and the deaths of so many others, it is from the eyes of a six-year-old girl that we see hope and possibility. In our own small way in Hays CISD, let us help guarantee that Gianna’s daddy does indeed leave a legacy of effecting real and lasting change.
With sincerity and love, Eric
Dr. Eric Wright
Superintendent of Schools