SALEM, Ore. — The Oregon State Board of Education passed a resolution on Thursday morning in support of the "Black Lives Matter" movement, declaring state education officials' commitment to anti-racism, equity, and full access to education.
"All students belong in Oregon schools. Sometimes, that means telling one student they belong and that they matter when they need to hear it,” said Kimberly Howard, Chair of Oregon State Board of Education. “Sometimes, that means telling a group of students that they matter when they have heard and felt the opposite for far too long.”
The resolution "strongly supports" justice and dignity for all Black people, and urges Oregon schools to take action in support of their Black students, teachers, and community members by strengthening avenues of support for those who experience harassment, bullying, or racial hatred.
“We cannot be silent in response to the racism that students and staff experience in Oregon’s schools,” said Oregon Department of Education Director Colt Gill. “The Oregon Department of Education is committed to ensuring that Oregon’s schools are safe and inclusive for all students and staff, and that means conclusively and repeatedly saying, ‘Yes, we affirm the dignity and humanity of Black people.’ That’s what Black Lives Matter means, as a statement of love and justice. And love and justice are the side of history we all need to be on.”
ODE said that the resolution follows similar steps taken by school officials across the country, including in Baltimore, Indianapolis, and in the Bay Area.
The Oregon State Board of Education, the Oregon Department of Education (ODE), the Coalition of Oregon School Administrators (COSA), the Oregon Education Association (OEA), the Oregon School Boards Association (OSBA), the Oregon School Employees Association (OSEA), the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA), the Oregon Association of Education Service Districts (OAESD), and the Oregon Association of Student Councils (OASC) also submitted a joint letter to the Oregon State Board of Education supporting the resolution.
“We fully support Black Lives Matter as a civil rights movement that aims to combat racism and support Black individuals,” said Jim Green, Executive Director of Oregon School Boards Association. “We stand beside Black Lives Matter, as a statement of social justice and an affirmation of the value and worth of Black people.”