Osseo School District Holds Community Forum on Race
Osseo Area Schools held a community forum on race on May 19. It’s the fifth time the school district has gathered community members to hold a very difficult, yet very important discussion.
Teachers, community leaders, and members of the Brooklyn Center and Maple Grove Police Departments gathered at the Maple Grove Community Center to have an open discussion about race. The school district designed the gathering to encourage meaningful conversations about race.
“Most of us only talk about racism when there’s been some kind of traumatic event,” said keynote speaker JuanCarlos Arauz. He is an expert on 21st century education, immigration and black/brown male youth development. “You can’t have education excellence without equity. What we learned is folks sometimes have a hard time talking about the equity part.”
Equity and Inclusion at Community Forum on Race
Equity and inclusion can be tricky in Osseo Area Schools where nearly 55 percent of students are of color, but the teachers are mostly white.
“I don’t think the Latino voice isn’t necessarily at these spaces and I have that perspective to give,” said Jesus Ramirez, Equity Specialist at Park Center High School. “There is no here or there, it’s all of us and in that paradigm. There’s different ways of how this racial construct is impacting us.”
Arauz believes it will take more than one conversation to solve the racial divide. However, Saturday’s conversation was a start.
“There are people who understandably are scared about what might happen when there’s more diversity,” says Arauz. “People want to engage in a conversation. I tell them, let’s just practice inclusion. Then work on the relationship part.”
After the Forum was over, participants met with community representatives to talk about staying connected in the future.