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FWISD Panel To Discuss Racial Equity Thursday

Protests for racial equality following the recent deaths of black men and women across the United States have left many white Americans wondering what role they might play in calls for change.  doingourpart

The Fort Worth ISD is offering a virtual discussion that may offer some insight. The District’s Division of Equity and Excellence will moderate a panel on discussion Thursday, June 4, with white employees and community leaders about racial consciousness and joining people of color in efforts to end racism in the schools and community.  The discussion, “Doing Our Part: Moving From Ally to Co-Conspirator” will take place live at 1 p.m. Thursday on the Fort Worth ISD and FWISD Equity and Excellence Facebook pages.

The discussion explores topics such as social justice, racial equity in schools and the community and joining the fight to end racism.  

Panelists will include Cissy Mattingly, coordinator for FWISD’s Business and Finance Division; Joseph Niedziela, FWISD’s Director of Social Studies; Dr. Paige Tooley, a local education consultant on interdisciplinary approaches to diversity, equity and inclusion; Dr. Anthony Walker, Tarrant County College Assistant Director of Academic Initiatives, and Jackie Walker Ross, director of Communications and Engagement for Leadership ISD.

Sherry Breed, Equity and Excellence chief, said several white colleagues and others reached out to her division staffers with questions of how they could offer support after the recent killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd made national headlines and protests for justice emerged nationwide. Thursday’s event offers a place for that discussion, she said.  

The assembled panelists are all individuals who’ve previously engaged in racial equity and social justice work, she said.  They will discuss where they are in their racial equity journey and what they’re doing to support the work, Mrs. Breed added.

“We want to keep it as authentic as it can be,” she said. “We don’t want them to be guarded in the conversation. “We’re going into some uncharted waters.” 

In a first for the division – an all-white panel – Mrs. Breed said she’s hopeful the discussion gives white viewers an understanding that it’s okay to be an ally and take action in eliminating racial inequities while reminding people of color viewing the discussion that there are white people who not only want to stand with them in the fight against racism but speak up.

"The decision to have an all-white panel [Thursday] was a deliberate one. Many of us as people of color were asked by our well meaning white friends how they could support us during these sad days. After much discussion we, the Division of Equity of Excellence ,who all are people of color, decided that that we wanted white people to process how they can support black individuals from the perspectives of other white people," Mrs Breed said.  "As a black woman, I am not ready to share with white individuals how they can support me. I am still processing my own feelings right now. The panel will be moderated by our equity specialists, who again, are all people of color. My expectation is that the conversation will be authentic and each panelists will speak from their perspective and share their journey as social justice warriors." 

Specialists with the Equity and Excellence division are expected to take viewer comments throughout the discussion.


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