Dear community member,
Next week is United Against Hate Week, a call for seven days of action against acts of hatred and implicit bias of all kinds.
The Santa Cruz County Board of Education likewise adopted a resolution recognizing United Against Hate Week at its October meeting, which can be read here.
As we have in prior years, the COE is distributing a school toolkit containing local events, resources, and activities. It lists a number of local events taking place throughout the week, from film screenings to workshops and panels (also available in Spanish here) . I also want to highlight one resource in particular: a booklet of resources for survivors of hate and bias incidents, available in English and Spanish. I commend Santa Cruz County for a Safe and Inclusive Community and its partners for planning these events and keeping these important community resources up to date.
As we aspire to have inclusive schools marked by mutual respect, we must collectively stand against hate. The need for uniting around these values is painfully clear. There has been an alarming increase in hate incidents and harassment targeting both Jewish and Muslim community members amid the devastating Israel-Hamas War, including on school campuses across the country. Divisiveness is rampant. Even the simple act of acknowledging the suffering of all communities impacted in the same breath is seen, by some, as controversial.
It is my deeply held belief that in a moment like this, nothing is more important as educators than wrapping students with a blanket of support and acceptance. We must remain vigilant with our words and actions to not otherize students of any identity.
Anyone witnessing or experiencing any act of hate or discrimination should immediately report it to school staff, and should take advantage of available counseling and support resources.
With all of this in mind, I hope you will all join us next week in uniting against hate. Let’s renew our pledge to respecting and supporting every member of the community and demonstrating our unwavering commitment to our core values – and each other.
Yours in education and equity,
Dr. Faris Sabbah
County Superintendent of Schools