Regarding Manheim Township School District:

We call upon our alma mater to integrate Black curriculum across the entire educational journey and demand anti-racist training across every grade level. Until our educational system recognizes the relentless pursuit of white systems of power on this continent, we will perpetuate what has been called our nation’s “original sin.”

Despite our advanced coursework — our Advanced Placement courses from history to politics, physics to calculus — the school system failed to activate our understanding that whites have never stopped making it impossible for Blacks to succeed. Racism was positioned as extreme acts of violence by conscious bigots, rather than systemic outcomes achieved by oft-unwitting parties. We were left to repeat the sins of earlier generations.

After the Civil War ended, violence against Blacks increased with the silent support of the White House. Black Americans were pushed out of every possible trade, and yet if they were found out of work, they were literally bargained away to the highest bidder. The idea that the 13th Amendment ended the legal, psychological and economic problems for Blacks is a complete fallacy. Black Americans on this continent have been attacked, maligned, abused — and blamed for it.

Our “advanced” coursework largely took us away from Black students. Why? Why didn’t Manheim Township make teaching more successful for the Black community? Where was our anti-racism training? Why weren’t we given the social courage to push for what is unambiguously right?

Manheim Township, for all that you’ve given us, you’ve also betrayed us.

Emily Webber

Chicago, Illinois