West Linn High School
Dear Students and Families,
Over the past few days you have received supportive emails from our district superintendent Dr. Kathy Ludwig and from Mr. Greg Neuman, the principal of West Linn High School, to express our shared commitment to fight systemic racism by creating equitable systems. Our group, the West Linn High School Equity Team, wants to echo the words of our leaders and offer some resources to help your family process and discuss the events occurring in our country.
As we write this letter, our country continues to grapple with tremendous outrage and grief over the police brutality suffered by George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, as well as the recent murders of Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others throughout our country’s history. Protests across the country continue to vent frustration and anger that so many people, especially African Americans, feel about the ongoing systemic racism of our society. You may be struggling too and we want you to know that as an equity team we stand with you in support and in solidarity.
For those who aren’t familiar with us, the West Linn High School Equity Team is a volunteer group of educators ‒ teachers, counselors, administrators alike ‒ working for equity in our school system since January of 2017. For the past year, our focus has been on the various forms that racial inequity take in our society. These recent events underscore the work that needs to be done.
Being silent is not an option, we must speak out when we see acts of racism and injustice in our world. To be silent is to be complicit. It tells people of color that their lives are not as valuable as others, that they are expendable. All it takes is one person to stand up and together we can send a powerful message that we will no longer tolerate acts of violence against those whose voices continue to be silenced because of the color of their skin. We are committed to work closely with our local police partners in our quest to stamp out systemic racism in our society.
Student Affinity Groups @ WLHS
For those of you that identify as a person of color, several affinity groups have been created for students to come together and share common experiences and express their cultural identities in a safe and nurturing space.
WLHS Affinity Group: All students that identify as a person of color are invited to this social and educational group. It meets the third Thursday of every month in the forum at lunch. The leadership board meets the second Thursday of every month in E105 and is looking for new student officers for the 2020-2021 school year.
Indigenous Student Union: A club for students that identify as American Indian, Native American, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, First Nations and Indigenous groups of the Americas. Meeting dates to be announced. It meets twice a month in B102 at lunch. Club Advisor: Lauren Pyrch
Black Student Union: A club for students that identify as Black or African American. Meeting dates to be announced. Club Advisor: Michelle Bonham
MEChA: MEChA stands for Movimiento Estudiantil Chicana/o de Aztlan. The student organization has roots starting from the Chicano/Civil Rights Movement in the late ‘60s. Today, high school MEChAs focus on getting Latin American students into leadership roles, scholarships opportunities, and post¬secondary schools. The West Linn MEChA club’s purpose is to serve the community, learn about each other's culture, perform civic duties, gain leadership skills in the form of organizing events, and most importantly help each other succeed and reach our full academic potential.
Middle Eastern and Indian Sub Continent: A club for students that identify as Middle Eastern, Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Nepali, Bhutanese, or Sri Lakan. Meeting dates to be announced. Club Advisor Meagyn Karmakar
Pacific Island and East Asian: A club for students that identify as Asian or any indigenous groups of the Pacific Islands. Meeting dates to be announced. Club Advisor: Currently unfilled
Please consider joining our conversations throughout the school year at many of the clubs and activities with West Linn United, a club founded on principles of activism toward racial equity, inclusion, and unity. This club is open to all students regardless of race or ethnicity.
Resources and Readings
This list will be updated often with helpful references and readings
Resources for discussing race with your children and family members.
Resources for white parents on how to talk to white children about racism: ‘
Articles and suggestions for teaching about race and racism from teaching tolerance. https://www.tolerance.org
Resources for your own anti-racist education:
How to be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi
White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
Waking Up White by Debby Irving
How to be Less Stupid About Race by Crystal M. Fleming
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
How Does it Feel to Be a Problem? by Moustafa Bayoumi
White Kids by Margaret Hagerman
There are resources at this link intended for white people and parents to deepen our anti-racism work: Anti-Racism Resources for White People.
Multicultural Family Night:
Latinx Family Event sponsored by MEChA and the WLHS counseling department
Community Forum: A Conversation about Race and Equity
Who We Are
For further conversation or resources, please feel free to reach out to any WLHS Equity Team Members. We would love to hear from you and hope to see you at some of our events next year.
Equity Team Contact List:
Michelle Bonham: BonhamM@wlwv.k12.or.us
Alex Close: CloseA@wlwv.k12.or.us
James Coombs: CoombsJ@wlwv.k12.or.us
Anna Crandall: CrandalA@wlwv.k12.or.us
Brian DelFatti: DelfattB@wlwv.k12.or.us
Megan Dobson: DobsonM@wlwv.k12.or.us
Jackie Hamm: HammJ@wlwv.k12.or.us
Paul Hanson: HansonP@wlwv.k12.or.us
Jenn Howe: HoweJ@wlwv.k12.or.us, co-chair
Todd Jones: JonesT@wlwv.k12.or.us
Dan Julian: JulianD@wlwv.k12.or.us
Meagyn Karmakar: KarmakaM@wlwv.k12.or.us, co-chair
Trevor Menne: MenneT@wlwv.k12.or.us
Raúl Millán: MillanR@wlwv.k12.or.us
Ryan Mooney: MooneyR@wlwv.k12.or.us
Stephanie Neilson: NeilsonS@wlwv.k12.or.us
Lauren Pyrch: PyrchL@wlwv.k12.or.us
Greg Neuman: NeumanG@wlwv.k12.or.us