Black minds matter. Black lives matter.

By Ascend June 2, 2020

On May 25th, George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis, Minnesota at the hands of law enforcement officers. His death followed the tragic losses of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and countless others. We witnessed the intolerable behavior Christian Cooper endured, as a white woman falsely accused and sought to weaponize police against him. In recent days, we have experienced and witnessed anger, turmoil, and grief in New York City and across the country. We see, plainly, that America is not safe for black lives.

Ascend unequivocally condemns the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and so many others who have been victimized by the broad spectrum of racist acts and policies within our systems that devalue black lives. We must also condemn the response of our national leader, whose racist comments about protesters divide our country further and deepen the wounds.

We will not be silent as we witness acts of blatant racism and the perpetuation of hate and discrimination in our country and in our city. We stand together using our voice, demanding equity and justice. We stand with our students, families, and staff as systematic oppression, threats, and violence are inflicted upon black Americans daily.

As a school network educating young and brilliant black and brown minds, we have the opportunity to shape the future of this nation. Through education and discourse, we can empower them to combat racism, and continue to inspire hope and possibility. Our hope is that our students will not only grow to live in a safer world, but that they will have a hand in shaping a more just and equitable future.

These events are layering further trauma and heartache on top of the COVID-19 related stress, anxiety, and fear, and its disproportionate impact on communities of color across the country and in our home of Brooklyn. We have provided our staff and students the time and space for reflection and sharing. We plan to further support our community in processing these events.

We stand together in unity. Please be safe as we navigate these difficult days.

The Ascend Leadership Team