Superintendent Lockhart Offers the Power of Personal Commitment

Dear CCUSD Families,

This evening before we return to school business tomorrow, I am compelled to speak out on the tragic and infuriating events of the last few weeks that have illuminated the stagnant injustices of hundreds of years. And yet, it is hard for me to share the words that will express to you exactly how I feel.
I suppose I could write you a note that would speak from my lens as an educator and the Superintendent of CCUSD. Wherein I would state in these times how critical and urgent our work with our students is. As we have all seen the multitude of images, heard the cries for help, and felt the pain and anger of so many, we know that what we impart in our conversations with our children must be steeped in equity, justice, and fairness because it will be our children who hopefully will lead and advocate for all in our future.

I suppose I could write something to you that espouses optimism and hope and expresses that we as a country, as a state, and as a city are better than this. We have the human capacity to stand up, rise, lock arms, and believe that we as people want better than this. We can choose to work for unity, in unity. We can choose to acknowledge that we are people in pain, who have been suffering and struggling and are angry to see yet another African American man be the victim of senseless violence. Regardless of circumstances and regardless of whatever your individual beliefs are, I am sure you feel that every person has the right to be treated as a human, every person has the right to have a voice, and every person has the right to breathe.

But today, I instead am writing to you from the standpoint of my most significant and compelling role: I am writing to you as an African American mom of an African American son, and as a wife to an African American husband. I write to tell you that every day I know that if they happen to go out for a jog, they could be hunted down just for a thrill. I write to tell you that any time they drive home at night they could be mistaken for someone else and not given the legal privileges or protections that every person in the country is entitled to. I know that they could go to a public event with hundreds of people, and be subjected to brutality while others are paralyzed and are unable to do anything to help them but watch. I live with this knowledge every day.

So today, I write to reiterate the commitments that we must make to our children, to the friends of our children and the families of those children. Every action, every promise we make, the work we do for this fight every day is critical. My commitment and my passion may sound dramatic to some, but from my shoes, the dangers that many of you now are seeing are my everyday reality. But, I know I will not do this alone; I know that in our district we will all lead as if this fight is just as urgent as it is for my husband and children because it is.

We have the opportunity to make a difference each day. When we look into our children’s eyes, we must reflect on the fact that this child in front of you can grow up to be the victim or the aggressor. Or we can together decide together that our children in front of us are going to be advocates for social justice and champions for change. And we can together say as a community that the lives of black and brown children matter and that all children’s lives matter.

Let us rise and stand together under the message of this powerful banner, for our children, for all children everywhere. We must use our breath to honor the memory of those who have had theirs taken from them. Let us remind ourselves of why each and every day of our children’s lives are points of promise and hope. Let us remind ourselves that as a community, we have to ensure that their lives, their dreams, and their families are just as important as others’ when the world is giving them every reason to believe that they don’t.
Leslie Lockhart

The Actors' Gang

1 Comment

  1. Dear Leslie,
    Your letter brought me to tears. Thank you for your strength. Know that I am with you and all of good heart as we work together to bring healing to one another and our entire community.
    May our example help Culver City be a beacon of democracy based on respect and care for all breathing beings – no matter whom.
    Suzanne De Benedittis

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