Honoring the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
January 15, 2021
Dear Glendale Unified Students, Families, Employees, and Community Members,
This Monday, we honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a man who led a life of activism and service, and worked tirelessly to advance civil rights and social justice. To quote Dr. King, “we must walk on in the days ahead with an audacious faith in the future.” I remain hopeful that, in Glendale Unified, we can continue to transform and build a school community that believes in and models racial justice and inclusion for all.
I am particularly proud of the progress we have made together over the past year. Last February, our School Board adopted a resolution Recognizing the Rich Culture, Contributions, and Value of our African American Students and Community Members. As part of that resolution, our district made a commitment to, “intentionally work to eliminate racism in our curricula, our classroom cultures, and our relationships with our students, our parents/guardians, and each other because our collective future depends on it.”
Together, we have put these words into action. We made a districtwide commitment to have courageous conversations about race and equity, and work to eliminate our own implicit biases. We have engaged the USC Race and Equity Center and the Los Angeles County Office of Education to provide professional development to combat all forms of discrimination. We proudly launched our Working Group to Ensure Culturally Relevant and Responsive Education, made up of students, teachers, school and district administrators and staff, parents/guardians, and community members. Our school communities have organized cultural events, service projects, and speaker series to celebrate our diverse cultural identities and support everyone living in our community.
Beginning next week and extending through February in honor of Black History Month, every Glendale Unified school will participate in a schoolwide service project to memorialize Dr. King's mission of service to the community. I look forward to taking time at each of our upcoming Board of Education meetings to share highlights from these service projects and other activities happening across our district. Additionally, I have invited members of our Culturally Relevant and Responsive Education Working Group to share an update on our progress at our Board meeting on February 16.
I believe one of our greatest strengths as a Glendale Unified community is how we continuously come together and support and care for one another, even in difficult times. Now more than ever, we must be accountable to each other and actively build structures, policies, practices, and belief systems that dismantle the foundations of hate. We are working patiently and steadfastly together to create a world that is based on inclusion, self-reflection, and empathy. Thank you for actively participating in this important work and for giving me, “an audacious faith in the future.”
Vivian Ekchian, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools