In the past three months, our local communities and those across the globe have experienced extraordinary challenges with a pandemic that has changed how we live, work, receive an education, and even interact with one another. The pandemic has been catastrophic to our known ways of life and disproportionately heavy on the most vulnerable in our communities.
And now, I am haunted anew by images of racial violence across our country. I am traumatized and know that the communities and people I serve are traumatized too. I cannot stay silent; I feel it is my responsibility as an educational leader and a woman of diversity to share my voice.
We have seen struggles and inequalities among our schools and communities. We have seen incredible acts by school and district personnel to meet the needs of their communities. They are feeding families, providing distance learning, supporting mental health needs of students and staff, and creating safe spaces. Their work now is more important than ever.
I want to recognize the distress and anguish these recent events are causing for our staff, students, and school communities throughout California. I encourage all of you to listen to your friends and neighbors, learn from them, and engage compassionately. It is critical for all of us to confront racism in all of its forms and create a safer, more supportive, and better society for all.
The people in our communities are hurting. We hear you. We see you. We stand in solidarity with you and would like to share our resources with you during this traumatic and stressful time. If you are struggling through this difficult time, please contact Health Advocate here or call an advocate at 866-799-2728. In addition to Health Advocate, our partners offer numerous mental health resources that you can find here.
During this time of global health and national civil crisis, let us continue to work together to serve our students, staff, and school district communities and facilitate education, safety, and health through mutual human connection and support. Being a diverse population is part of our strength and it all starts with us – one kind act from one to another.
Be well, stay safe, and make a positive difference,
Karla M. Rhay, Ed.D.
Chief Executive Officer