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April 21, 2021 12:00 AM
By: Secretary of Education Noe Ortega

Notes from Noe

In the wake of George Floyd’s death and the verdict from the Derek Chauvin trial, many may be experiencing anxiety, relief, disbelief, exhaustion, helplessness, and fear, among other emotions. 

These feelings are real and important to acknowledge intrinsically and within our communities.  

The nine minute and twenty-nine second video that plays on loop on our screens and in our minds is an incessant reminder of a broader narrative about dehumanization directed at communities of color. These events generate a range of emotions because of their complicated context—marginalization in a country that upholds strong guiding principles and values. 

Although justice has prevailed, the verdict in this single trial does not solve all the injustices that continue to exist in our society. The verdict does offer an indication of the incremental progress we have made as a nation. This road before us is long, and we must continue to move in the right direction.  

As I prepare to take the next step forward, I must first look inward and give myself space to reflect and process the pain that many continue to endure. I will look to those around me and offer comfort and assurance; I stand alongside you. And I look to our educators, who inspire me through their collective commitment to transforming our communities for the better.  

That responsibility is great, but the outcome is much greater.   

As educators, we dedicate each day to ensuring our learners have access to the knowledge, tools, and resources they need to learn from their experiences and feel empowered to create positive change. This goal guides us, drives us, unites us, and serves as the foundation for our work. 

With that always in mind, I’m counting on our educators to continue to ensure our school communities are safe, supportive, healing spaces that cultivate conversations and explorations of truth, equity, empathy, and justice. After all, our students are our future. 

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