Racial Equity Statement
and Action Plan
Dear LightHouse Community,
It has been nearly two months since the killing of George Floyd, and the subsequent movement of protests in support of Black lives and against systemic racism continues to reverberate across the United States and around the globe. The legacy of racism is complex, culturally pervasive, brutally violent to Black, indigenous and other people of color, and is far from being truly reckoned with. To move towards racial equity, we believe institutions need to prioritize humanity, acknowledge the deeply embedded inequities at every level, create tangible actions, and work to weave the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion into the very fabric of their organizations. The LightHouse Board of Directors stands in solidarity with and support of the Black Lives Matters movement.
The LightHouse program was conceived, designed, and built on the belief that inequities in our community can be addressed through education. It is clear, however, that equity is only possible when the systems in which we live, learn, and work are equitable. We know that in the United States our education system and law enforcement are systemically racist. The United States was founded on the oppression of and a deep systemic violence towards Black people, indigenous people, and people of color.
To our Black and non black people of color students, families, staff and community: we see you and we acknowledge the reality of the injustice you face. We recognize that this movement is the culmination of a history of deeply tragic and traumatic moments and we affirm the rage over the loss of Black lives. Through the vision and values of LightHouse and the community that we serve, we commit to fighting for racial equity.
To our white students, staff, families, and communities: we must not stay silent. We must listen to and amplify the voices of the oppressed, hone our own allied voices, and educate ourselves and our immediate families and networks. We must stand up for justice, safety, and Black humanity both at LightHouse and beyond. Black Lives Matter.
What are we doing as a Board to be actively anti-racist?
We believe that for an organization to be truly anti-racist, the work of equity must reverberate through every level of vision and operations.
We are committed to:
- Continuing to serve a diverse student body and making a LightHouse education accessible to students of all economic backgrounds.
- Defining clearly and explicitly what racial diversity and equity means with regard to Board membership at LightHouse and having a Board that is representative of the diversity of the community we serve.
- Soliciting input from stakeholders including students, parents, staff, and community members with the aim of drafting formal Diversity, Equity and Inclusion statement for LightHouse that will guide the work of the board moving forward.
- Setting explicit goals and metrics by which we can measure and share our practices of anti-racism.
- Offering resources about race and racial justice to our board members and our community.
- Keeping the racial and/or ethnic diversity of full time and adjunct staff and mentors at LightHouse representative of the community.
- Create open forums to encourage students, families, staff, and board to discuss racial equity issues to provide insight and improve our ability to work together as a learning community
- Engaging staff participation and voices at Board meetings to learn about equity and justice from their work with students and families.
- Documenting our work towards equity so that we may share the lessons and outcomes with other boards and organizations.
The Diversity of the LightHouse Board
The LightHouse Board of Directors has since its founding had a membership nomination process that requires race and ethnicity information be gathered and considered. We are currently in discussions about how to define diversity within the context of board membership: should board diversity represent the students’ diversity or should it represent the diversity of the communities that we serve in Western Massachusetts? Currently, LightHouse has 12 Board members: 1 African American, 1 Asian American, 3 Latino/Chicano Americans and 7 White Americans. 7 are men and 5 are women, 0 are non-binary.
The LightHouse Board of Directors is committed to focusing our efforts on identifying more ways to be actively anti-racist and fully acknowledge our own responsibility in the injustice against Black people and other people of color.
There is much work to do at LightHouse and in our society to untangle the deep roots of inequity and violence against Black and Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC). The murder of George Floyd and innumerable other Black people, the disproportionate deaths of people of color during the COVID-19 pandemic, inequalities in education, and so many other injustices are the consequences of the racist systems at work all around us. The LightHouse Board of Directors pledges to live up to the commitments of anti-racism and to hold ourselves accountable for successes and failures. The above list of commitments and actions will be formally addressed at the LightHouse Board meetings and recorded in the meeting minutes.
This moment requires something of all of us and if you would like to contribute additional recommendations for the Board’s consideration or to share information please contact us at [email protected]
The LightHouse Board of Directors