I recently attended a community event held in response to a racial incident at Ashland High School that included violence. As a community member, I want Ashland’s students to have a safe and enjoyable learning environment.
Acknowledging the impact of racism isn’t easy. After last year’s racial incidents involving Oregon Shakespeare Festival company members, I was fortunate enough to participate in a course called "Hard Conversations on Racism." It was hard. I learned about my own and others’ white privilege, about white supremacy (which does not simply mean being alt-right), and about structural racism. I was shocked at my own obliviousness to the constant impact of racism on our citizens of color.
I applaud Jim Westrick’s letter (June 14) stating problem-solving begins at home. Parents must be involved in teaching their children that racism is unacceptable. The community’s support of parents and teachers is vital. To that end, having a person on the school board who knows firsthand the impact of structural racism is an important step toward understanding the issues.
Kamilah Long has experience as a parent, as a college professor and as a high school teacher. She has worked with our community in many roles including manager of capital campaigns and leadership alliances for OSF. Her expertise, standard of excellence and perspective can only benefit the school district.
I believe Ashland now has an opportunity to take the lead in uncovering and addressing the complexities of racism. I ask the community to support the appointment of Kamilah Long to the Ashland School Board.