Essex Tech Facilitates Dialog with Students on Racism Following the Death of George Floyd

DANVERS — Following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week at the hands of police, the Essex Tech community has heard from its students and families, and the school is seeking to support students and continue the discussion regarding racism.
“We are tremendously saddened and disheartened by the senseless killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week at the hands of police,” Superintendent Heidi Riccio said. “Violence, hate, and racism are unacceptable, and we know this situation has deeply affected our students and the greater Essex Tech community. As a school that educates the future workforce, we strive to cultivate a caring culture of diversity, inclusion, kindness, acceptance and safety at Essex Tech that will take them into their future career paths. Our graduates will be working alongside a variety of individuals with different values, beliefs and viewpoints. It is essential that they leave us with the tools to embrace diversity. We will be taking this dark moment as an opportunity to listen, learn and share.”
Essex Tech’s Cultural Awareness Collective (CAC) met remotely Monday and Tuesday to discuss recent events and how the school can support students at this time. The CAC meets regularly to review diversity needs at Essex Tech and how the school can bring students together, even remotely. The group typically meets each Thursday.
The student members of the CAC wish to share the following statement on George Floyd’s death:
“Believing black lives matter isn’t a political stance, but a moral standpoint. We stand with the fight against senseless violence against black and brown individuals. Since this country’s birth equality has been an ongoing debate. Today with the internet giving us the power to amplify our voices we can organize and create change. As a collective, we’re here to help with educational materials. You can find us at the unofficial page @CacEths.”
Essex Tech is also currently planning to share a remote, video presentation with students later this month by Dr. Adolph Brown, a motivational speaker, author, educator, research-scientist and social justice advocate. During the video, Brown will discuss the current climate of unrest in the country in the wake of George Floyd’s death, and will provide guidance and insight for students as they navigate the realities of racism.
A date has not been formally set for the presentation at this time, and more information will be shared with students as soon as it becomes available.
Brown gave a presentation to Essex Tech educators this fall on diversity and assuming positive intent at a professional development training for educators at the school organized by Massachusetts Partnerships for Youth (MPY), a nonprofit which provides training, fosters collaboration, and develops programming to increase the health and safety of students statewide. He was also scheduled to speak to students about assuming positive intent on April 15 during an MPY sponsored event to celebrate One Boston Day. The event was ultimately cancelled, however, due to school facility closures and social distancing efforts implemented as a result of COVID-19.