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Superintendent Standpoint: Honoring Black History Month

Black History Month

 

Today, February 1, marks the beginning of Black History Month. This month reminds and encourages us to recognize and celebrate the contributions, achievements and sacrifices of black people throughout our nation’s history.

One example of that rich history is the story of Edwin Pratt. As a founding member of the Central Area Civil Rights Committee and Executive Director of the Seattle Urban League, he dedicated his life and career to promoting racial equality and social justice. He led civil rights campaigns against housing discriminations, school segregation and employment bias.

Edwin Pratt moved his family to a nearly all-white Shoreline in 1959 to highlight and bring attention to residential segregation that was present through housing restrictions that would not allow the sale of homes to people of color.

Tragically, Pratt’s life was cut short when he was assassinated in front of his Shoreline home on January 26, 1969 at the age of 38.

Last month our school district opened the Edwin Pratt Early Learning Center to more than 400 of our community’s youngest learners. Our Board of Directors unanimously voted to name the school after Edwin Pratt in honor of his contributions to the civil rights movement and bravery in helping begin a process of racial and cultural integration in Shoreline that has helped create the beautifully diverse community that we love and are so fortunate to call home.

Edwin Pratt’s story is also a stark reminder of the injustices that black people have experienced and continue to endure. Our schools are not immune to the societal issues of bias and inequity that negatively impact the ability and opportunities for students of color to learn and succeed. We are, however, firm in our resolve to address these issues and support our students of color in reaching their true and full potential.

We have a long way to go on the road to equity and equality for all, but we can get there sooner together. I hope you’ll join me in honoring Black History Month by remembering and celebrating the work and legacy of heroes like Edwin Pratt. Let us honor their memory by committing ourselves to the pursuit of social justice for all. Let us also endeavor to examine our own personal and institutional biases in an effort to move us closer to the vision of equality for which he and so many others have stood.

-Rebecca Miner, Superintendent 

 Edwin Pratt
Edwin Pratt

 

Edwin Pratt ELC
Edwin Pratt Early Learning Center