CAGT’s Statement on Systemic Racism
Like many, CAGT entered 2020 with great optimism and hope in our plans for the new year. However, we quickly learned that 2020 had a plan of its own. March changed our way of life due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and greatly changed our way of teaching. Even though we came together with the COVID-19 acclamation of, “We are in this together,” this pandemic actually shined a bright light on the existing inequities caused by the systemic racism in our nation. With our country, we at CAGT, are mourning the senseless deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and the many others who lost their lives at the hands of police and vigilante actions. Racism in our country needs to stop, and CAGT is committed to being a part of the solution.
CAGT is committed to ensuring equitable access in identification and programming for our underrepresented populations and Black children. Not only must we meet the academic needs of these students, but also support their social and emotional well-being that has been impacted by the trauma of systemic racism. As reflective educators, we need to free our pedagogies of any cultural biases that may exist. To make meaningful progress towards these goals, CAGT is committed to providing extensive cultural competency and implicit bias training to eliminate racial bias from teaching practices through our professional learning opportunities. CAGT will partner with the State and our institutions of higher education to examine our practices of inclusivity, especially those of our own organization.
While our hearts break for the tragedies the Black community has endured for so long, we are optimistic that we can break the cycle of injustice and create a world where hope is something we all share. We will admit to what we do not understand, listen to others’ experiences, and learn from those who can offer a different perspective from our own. We will continue to have difficult conversations when the protests have gone quiet to ensure that change actually happens. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
Dear CAGT members and friends,
Coloradoans are once again experiencing the grief and outrage caused by senseless gun violence, this time at a King Soopers in Boulder, Colorado. Our hearts go out to the ten victims who were taken on March 22, 2021 as well as to all of those who have been victims of gun violence. We stand beside the families and friends who are grieving for their lost loved ones as well as the communities in which these crimes occurred. We also honor the dedicated first responders who support our communities even at the peril of losing their own lives.
The Colorado Association for Gifted and Talented believes in supporting students, families, educators, and policy makers in building a just, humane, and safe world. We strive to ensure all students are seen for who they are and have their academic and social emotional needs met and nurtured.
When these traumatic events occur, we find ourselves supporting children who are processing these circumstances as we attempt to grapple with them ourselves. For support and advice in speaking to children about these and other traumatic events, please see the following resources:
Additionally, if you or someone you know is in crisis or needs help and support, reach out to the Colorado Crisis Services by calling #1-844-493-8255 or text “talk” to 38255.
Our strongest resource is communication, as it is vital in navigating these painful events. Keeping an eye out for each other is the best safety measure for our children, students, staff, and our community. Please take time to connect with loved ones and share openly.
In closing, we encourage you to connect with the young people in your life. Together we can support our children and each other. We stand with all those impacted by this senseless violence.
The CAGT Executive Board
We are deeply saddened and disturbed by the tragic shootings in Atlanta. Sadly, hate crimes against Asian Americans have risen 145% over the last year due to the rise in COVID cases. Many attribute the 2020 uptick to the xenophobic rhetoric blaming the country for the pandemic. According to the CDC racism is now a public health crisis and needs to be addressed (NPR April 8, 2021). CAGT condemns all acts of violence and discrimination directed towards all Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders.
While our hearts break for the tragedies and persecution that the Asian community has endured for decades, we are optimistic that we can break the cycle of injustice. We at CAGT are optimistic that we can help create a world of tolerance and acceptance. We stand resolutely to continue to connect with our Asian colleagues, students and families. We stand resolutely to engage in the difficult yet imperative conversations. We are resolute that we shall come together during these challenging times.
To this end, CAGT–as well as the Colorado gifted community–will work collectively and intentionally to stop anti-Asian racism as well as any other racism in our schools and communities.