A Letter to Members of the School Committee and Superintendent Botelho
Dear Members of the School Committee and Superintendent Botelho,
Sharon Racial Equity Alliance would like to thank the Sharon Public Schools and the SMS PTO for inviting award-winning YA author, Jennifer De Leon, to speak to our middle and high school students in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. De Leon’s book, Don’t Ask Me Where I Am From, offers the perspective of a young Latina METCO student who experiences racism first-hand in a predominantly white suburban school. In addition to reading an excerpt from the book, De Leon spoke of her own memories of discrimination. We believe that the only path toward racial equity, inclusion, and belonging in Sharon is through open dialogue and exchange at all levels. We commend Superintendent Botelho, the Middle and High School administration and teachers, as well as the Sharon Middle School PTO, for allowing our students to learn from Ms. De Leon’s experience as a professional author and Latina woman who went to a suburban school.
We encourage the School Committee and Sharon Public Schools to continue to foster a dialogue of this kind. Difficult conversations and disagreements are a part of building community. While a minority of parents may have been uncomfortable with the frank discussions around race and racism, we urge you to continue inviting speakers such as Ms. De Leon, whose perspectives help nurture empathy and critical thinking in our students. In addition, we would also like to formally state that we are in solidarity with the over 300 Sharon High School students who wrote to the School Committee in support of Jennifer De Leon’s presentation. It is a testament to our school system that our children were able to make such a powerful and eloquent case.
Thank you, Board of Directors, Sharon Racial Equity Alliance, Inc.