Healing circles planned for Blacks and other people of color

The Sunrise Board of Directors approved a resolution calling for “forgiveness circles” for African Americans and other people of color in the wake of numerous killings of Blacks by white police officers. The resolution calls for meetings in which representatives of various ethnicities would learn the true history of a group’s struggles and ask for forgiveness for past wrongs done to that group.

The resolution acknowledges that schools are a perfect platform to educate youth and their parents about “the true story of systematic torture and institutional racism involving African Americans” and other ethnicities.

“An injustice to some has been an injustice to all and has led to a corrupt system that often affects other ethnicities and gender minorities, as well as dehumanizes and economically penalizes people who have crossed a country’s border without permission,” the resolution says.

In the planned circles, students, parents, teachers, and school board members will be invited to learn about “the whole truth of our nation’s ugly history” and to “be empowered with the truth that all people deserve to have the wrongs done to them publicly acknowledged and accounted for.”

Participants in these healing circles will learn about the African American history and that of other ethnic groups. Representatives of the privileged majority will ask for forgiveness on behalf of the entire majority, and representatives of the minority will accept the request for forgiveness, thereby beginning a circle of healing that is intended to spread beyond the Sunrise community to the entire San Jose community and beyond.

The resolution, approved by unanimous vote, also calls for Social Justice classes this Fall that will expose students to the full histories of African American and other ethnic groups and allow students to “to discuss these injustices, explore ideas for change, and explore ideas for transformation as well as participate in that transformative future.”

Following is the resolution:

SUNRISE MIDDLE SCHOOL BOARD OF DIRECTORS RESOLUTION – BLACK LIVES MATTER

WHEREAS, throughout our nation’s history the true story of systematic torture and institutional racism involving African Americans has not been fully told or understood; and
WHEREAS, throughout our nation’s history African Americans’ personal and systematic atrocities have not been publicly heard, recognized and atoned for; and
WHEREAS, throughout our nation’s history this institutional racism has led to deep personal grief and lasting economic disparity and unnecessary incarceration; and
WHEREAS, the continued loss of Black lives – and the covering up of the details involving those killings – has led to mounting outrage among all sectors of our nation; and
WHEREAS, an injustice to some has been an injustice to all and has led to a corrupt system that often affects other ethnicities and gender minorities, as well as dehumanizes and economically penalizes people who have crossed a country’s border without permission; and
WHEREAS, the recent unnecessary loss of the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, Ahmaud Arbery and so many others has brought this outrage to the forefront and indeed, people of all races, have been awoken to the atrocities and abuse of power; and
WHEREAS, Black Lives Matter is becoming the mantle for a larger movement, one that has become international in scope, and what is unfolding is the realization that a number of groups have been subjected to highly discriminatory treatment over a long period of time, and the reforms that are being called for should take account of discriminatory treatment generally; and
WHEREAS, Latino, transgender, Native American and other indigenous lives have also been the victims of systematic racism and have been systematically mistreated by law enforcement; and
WHEREAS, our schools provide the perfect platform for young people to finally be exposed to the whole truth of our nation’s ugly history and to be empowered with the truth that all people deserve to have the wrongs done to them publicly acknowledged and accounted for; and
WHEREAS, the wrongs of the past must now be corrected to ensure that every Black, Brown, Asian Pacific American, indigenous, transgender, and minority person is treated ethically, can live in dignity, and has social, economic, and political power.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Sunrise Middle School Board of Directors declares that Black Lives Matter and joins the movement to fight for full disclosure, accountability, liberation, and justice.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Sunrise Middle School Board of Directors is committed to providing Humanities classes that will expose our youth to the full and ugly history of the atrocities that we as a nation have imposed on several population groups, beginning with African Americans.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Sunrise Middle School Board of Directors is committed to providing Social Justice education, empowerment trainings, trauma-informed healing workshops and art classes that will give our youth a safe platform to discuss these injustices, explore ideas for change, and explore ideas for transformation as well as participate in that transformative future.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Sunrise Middle School Board of Directors is committed to transformative justice practices and implicit bias training around the guiding principles of Black Lives Matter and will work collaboratively with staff, students, families, and the community to learn Black history and dismantle institutionalized racism in ourselves and our society.
FINALLY, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Sunrise Middle School Board of Directors is committed to holding “forgiveness circles”, beginning with African Americans and extending to all minority groups, whereby a group’s history will be told fully and representatives of the privileged majority will ask for forgiveness on behalf of the entire majority, and representatives of the minority will accept the request for forgiveness, thereby beginning a circle of healing that will hopefully spread beyond the Sunrise community to the entire San Jose community and beyond.

PASSED AND ADOPTED by the Board of Directors of Sunrise Middle School, San Jose, California, this 15th day of June 2020 by the following vote: AYES: NOES: ABSTENTIONS:

We honor the many African Americans who have been purposely or carelessly killed in the last few years – Eric Garner, John Crawford III, Michael Brown, Ezell Ford, Dante Parker, Michelle Cusseaux, Laquan McDonald, Tanisha Anderson, Akai Gurley, Tamir Rice, Rumain Brisbon, Jermae Reid, George Mann, Matthrw Ajibade, Frank Smart, Natasha McKenna, Tony Robinson, Anthony Hill, Mya Hall, Phillip White, Eric Harris, Walter Scott, William Chapman II, Alexia Christian, Brendon Glenn, Victor Manuel Larosa, Jonathan Sanders, Freddie Blue, Joseph Mann, Salvado Ellswood, Sandra Bland, Albert Joseph Davis, Darrius Stewart, Billy Ray Davis, Samuel Dubose, Troy Robinson, Asshams Pharoah Manley, Felix Kumi, Keith Harrison McLeod, Junior Prosper, Lamontez Jones, Paterson Brown, Dominic Hutchinson, Anthony Ashford, Alonzo Smith, Tyree Crawford, India Kager, La’vante Biggs, Michael Lee Marshall, Jamar Clark, Richard Perkins, Nathaniel Harris Pickett, Benni Lee Tignor, Miguel Espinal, Michael Noel, Kevin Matthews, Bettie Jones, Quintonio Legrier, Keith Childress Jr., Janet Wilson, Randy Nelson, Antronie Scott, Wendell Celestine, David Joseph, Calin Roquemore, Dyzhawn Perkins, Christopher Davis, Marco Loud, Pete Gaines, Torry Robinson, Darius Robinson, Kevin Hicks, Mary Truxillo, Demarcus Semer, Willie Tillman, Terril Thomas, Sylvie Smith, Alton Sterling, Philano Castile, Terence Crutcher, Paul O’Neal, Alteria Woods, Jordan Edwards, Aaron Bailey, Ronell Foster, Stephon Clark, Antwon Rose II, Botham Jean, Pamels Turner, Dominique Clayton, Christopher McCorvey, Eric Reason, Michael Lorenzo Dean, Rayshard Brooks, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Manuel Ellis, Tony McDade, David McAtee, Nina Pop, Darius J. Tarver, Freddie Gray, Rashad Cunningham, Trayvon Martin, Monika Diamond and the many more whose names we do not know or may have left off of this list.

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