NEF Statement to our Community on Racial Justice and Equality

Dear Northampton Community,

In the wake of George Floyd’s horrific murder at the hands of Minneapolis police officers and the ensuing upheaval, we at the Northampton Education Foundation want to reach out to you, our beloved community, and make it abundantly clear that our support for racial justice and equality—and our condemnation of those who oppose them—has not and will not ever waver.

George Floyd is only the most current and visible victim of the racism that stalks our country on a daily basis. Under the pressure of such knowledge, it’s difficult not to feel despair and helplessness. But education is one of the most effective ways to make a sustained and lasting difference in attitudes toward race in our community and in our nation. The content and quality of that education matters, as does the effort to make it accessible to students regardless of race or socioeconomic status. Our mission is to fund projects and programs that expand educational opportunities, foster creativity, and enhance academic experiences in Northampton’s public schools. This is why we have funded—and will continue to fund—teacher-led initiatives that help build a society that values all members. These have included projects promoting racial literacy at the elementary school level; outreach programs at Section 8 housing that include Lego robotics, math, art, and literacy; a program placing books addressing race and diversity in the district’s elementary school libraries; and curriculum for elementary and high school students designed around the history of Sojourner Truth and the Underground Railroad in Northampton.

We are more committed than ever to partnering with the city and community of Northampton to provide a quality education to every child in our schools. We are also committed to furthering our own education and pledge to continue to listen and learn both as individuals and as an organization. Let 2020 be the year that we all commit—really commit—to a future in which everyone in the United States, of every color, can finally breathe free.

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