Dear RJA Friends and Families,
On behalf of REAL Journey Academies (RJA), we want to express our sincere heartbreak over several recent disturbing and serious events. As parents first and foremost, we, like many of you, have struggled with a range of reactions over the last several days – from sadness, to anger, to the need to support our children in processing the unexplainable. Our thoughts are with all those impacted by this tragedy. As parents and staff members who pour ourselves into the lives of our children on a daily basis, these senseless acts of violence affect us deeply. No matter where we live and where our children attend school, we are hurting as a local community, state and nation. This is a call to action for all of us to combat the deep-rooted racism and injustice that our school community is experiencing, along with all communities across the country.
As a school community, we are outraged at the continued incidents like that of the tragic death of George Floyd, and as educators we know these incidents have a profound impact on our children. Our entire community suffers when even one individual feels their sense of safety and belonging are compromised. As an institution committed to actively disrupting racism, we know that the fight against oppression and hate cannot fall by default on our community members of color. We must lead it together. And we know that it is not enough to simply speak out and condemn racism when we see it - we must strive to do more and to do better.
At this moment, the word pandemic holds so much more meaning than ever before in our lifetime, but we are also facing a pandemic of racism, hate and bias that threatens the freedom, peace and well-being of every person in our nation. What we are seeing across America is more than just a reaction to one incident; it is a culmination of years of dismissal, frustration and anger. RJA subscribes to the premise that ALL students must have an equal chance to succeed through education. We further believe that ALL students should never have to live in fear of anyone in society or have to endure any form of racial injustice.
The great writer James Baldwin once said, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” The best way for us to get through this to the other side, is to face it head on and talk about it. We are dedicated to creating opportunities and spaces for our families to heal together. Our core RJA values are aligned to ensure no less. Racism, prejudice, hatred, bigotry and bias have no place in our society, our community or our schools. At RJA, we know there is much more work to be done, but we can commit to continue to have the difficult but necessary conversations with school leaders and staff to identify, recognize and eliminate cultural biases in our classrooms. We can commit to continue our work to create learning and working environments where all viewpoints are welcome and valued so that our students, especially, will feel seen and heard.
What bridges us together is that we all share a common interest - the safety and well-being of each and every one of our children. Like you, we wish we had the answer to stop this cycle of violence, but we are committed to trying to find a solution. However, we do know that each of us play an important role in providing for our children’s safety and well-being. As adults, our children are looking to all of us to come together, regardless of our different backgrounds and perspectives, and collectively own this problem and work together to address it. Our children deserve nothing less of us!
Alex Lucero, Chief Executive Officer
Randel Josserand, Chief Academic Officer
Ray Culberson, Chief Business Officer