At Achievement First, our values drive everything we do. We’re an organization that has social justice and equity at our core, so we approach Black History Month with a reverence for what it means to work toward equality and justice at this moment in our history.
This is a confusing, frightening, and uncertain time for many of our families, teachers and neighbors in the communities where we work. We know it is a time when all voices for equity and empowerment are needed. It is imperative, now more than ever, that we lead with love and let our values lead us.
Here’s where they’ve led us so far:
We’re doubling down on loving and affirming all of our students, families and staff.
We’re listening – especially across lines of difference and to people with whom we disagree.
We’re teaching our students to think critically so that they can become the future leaders our world needs.
We’re advocating for our families, communities and values.
As a first step, this means standing in support of DACA and DREAMers. Proposed legislation could eliminate protections for young immigrants currently covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy (DACA). This policy covers students, teachers and others who are making vital contributions to our communities – but could face immediate deportation without these protections. And so we are fighting it. Our co-CEOs, principals, and other members of Achievement First’s Team & Family have joined over 1,700 education leaders in signing an open letter to protect immigrants.
Our commitment means protecting civil rights and human rights, and proudly supporting AF Brooklyn Board Member Lee Gelernt, the deputy director of ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, whose arguments convinced a federal judge to block the ban on immigrants and travelers from seven majority-Muslim countries.
It means sharing resources like the National Immigration Law Center’s webinar on the Executive Immigration Orders, articles on the implications of DACA, and guides for educators to discuss immigration and refugees.
It also means supporting activism in our communities – attending marches, Running for Refugees, and affirming our belief in the radical power of love.
Above all, it means supporting our kids, teachers, Team & Family and leading with love as we take a stand, offer a hand to help, and raise a voice in protest.