On Salvation and Wholeness

On Salvation and Wholeness

by 

What does it mean to bless?

To bless does not mean

Saying magical words

Changing the mind of God

Or altering the course of the cosmos.

     To bless does mean

Reminding each other of our gifts

Remembering the wisdom that is within us

And recalling our common purpose.

     The choices we make and the work we do

Are how we bless each other and the world.

     May the words we say

And the songs we sing

Name the wholeness we are

And still yet seek.

                               –Words by Eric Williams

 

This week’s nugget includes a statement released by me today concerning a issues raised earlier this week by a coalition on which I serve as a member of Worcester Interfaith and a local faith leader.   It is this week’s nugget as one example of “the choices we make and the work we do” that reflect the wholeness we seek in world, especially when we are able to use our power to support efforts to establish more justice and equity.  I share it with you in order that you might think of the ways that you too can use your power to bring about more wholeness in the world.

Blessings,

Aaron

 

STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF WORCESTER COMMISSION FOR EDUCATION EQUITY

As a local faith leader, a member of Worcester Interfaith, the Worcester Commission for Education Equity, and signatory on the statement recently released concerning inequitable treatment of students of color who are predominantly Latino, as well as a parent of two children that are products of the Worcester Public School system, I write to reiterate my solidarity with the call for significant changes to our public education system.

Leadership within the local Latino community has been instrumental in raising the consciousness for many in Worcester regarding the inequitable treatment of students of color in our public schools.  Many of us, who serve predominantly white institutions, find equal cause for concern that children and youth in our community are disproportionately disadvantaged educationally due to discriminatory policies and behaviors by those tasked with facilitating the disciplinary systems in our schools.  Drop out rates, chronic absenteeism, disciplinary exclusion, are all symptoms of a system that is broken, unjust, and morally indefensible.

The call by the Worcester Commission for Education Equity to address these issues through significant engagement of communities of color in order to advance accountability by the school system and ultimately to partner in this effort as a community-wide responsibility is crucial.  And this effort must rely on the leadership and experience of communities of color in Worcester in partnership with the school system.

The Worcester Public Schools can do much to advance its commitment to this ongoing effort through the hiring of a Chief Diversity Officer to help the system respond to racial disparities in policies and hiring in order to advance equitable treatment of students of color and to create a school system that reflects the diversity of Worcester in its staffing and administration.  This effort must include the recruitment and hiring of staff and leaders that reflect the population being educated.

We must insist that the resources for English language learners be prioritized over the policing of our school system.  Far too many students of color, especially ELL students end up on a trajectory toward entrance into our criminal justice system because of the treatment that is enforced in our educational institutions.  We must prioritize the retention of our students in educational opportunities and not simply sacrifice those most vulnerable.

Finally, we must hold those responsible for implementing educational policies and processes accountable. That this now includes a call for a change in critical leadership, is because these issues are that vital, especially to the families of students who are being disadvantaged as well as those of us who are in solidarity with them on these issues.

Much has been said publically in recent days about the issue of racism as it relates to our school system.  I unequivocally support the assessment that many of the issues addressed in the recent statement by the Worcester Commission for Education Equity point to the reality that there is racial bias, one important element of systemic racism, that exists in our school system.  Like so many of our public institutions, we must be courageous and forthright in addressing this in our school system and as it is identified, all of our public and private institutions.  Worcester prides itself on the diversity it embodies.  Now is the time for us to again take seriously the challenge that diversity demands-a more just and equitable treatment and involvement of communities of color, especially as this relates to the future of our children.