We’re Committed to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging — Saga EducationJuly 7, 2020
We are writing to you in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and the continuing Black Lives Matter protests against racial injustice and police brutality. We are saddened by the unconscionable acts of violence that have occurred against the Black community. The most recent killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor have only exacerbated the historical injustices faced by Black Americans for over 400 years. Alan Safran, the Co-founder of Saga Education shared his personal reflection about these recent events– there is no peace without justice.
Our students do not live in a vacuum, and no matter our identities, we are all affected by these events. At Saga we want to acknowledge the many emotions you may be feeling as a result of these recent events and repeated injustices.
As an organization, we prioritize educational equity, which is tied to racial equity. However, being a nonprofit is not an abdication of our responsibility to do more, and to make sure that equity is at the forefront of the service we provide to students AND how we operate as a business. We want to make sure that we honor and value all of our community members: students, staff, families and schools.
Of course this is much easier said than done, but its important to know that all leaders at Saga are committed to listening more deeply and taking action where we can. Here are some of the specific items we are exploring at this time (as a starting point):
We will research socially responsible black owned banks that we could move our financial resources into.
We will research black owned businesses from whom we could purchase our supplies and other major purchases.
Students this year are experiencing additional hardship and trauma. As a result, we will incorporate DEIB training this year as part of our summer training. To complement this work, additional training will also be available throughout the year on implementing more restorative approaches with both students and staff. The leadership team is actively raising additional funding to build out our DEIB resources and capacity. We are in final talks with an organization that would partner with us to provide training support to our offSITE Fellows, AmeriCorps members, regional staff, and national staff. We will continue to pursue this in the year ahead with conviction.
We have created a Chief Equity and Talent Officer position, a new full time role, which will be headed by Angie Mason. As a core member of our 5-person senior leadership team, she will lead us as an organization to continue the important work that has been started and to develop the ongoing and future work of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging at Saga. She has been given an expansive charge to look at everything we do from the lens of improving diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging for our people, including (but not limited to) our sourcing of talent, our support of employees, our training, our diversity organization-wide and by department, our vendors, and our messaging.
We commit to developing a marketing and communications strategy with equity at the forefront. This includes inclusive language, which is free from words, phrases or tones that reflect prejudiced, stereotyped or discriminatory views of particular people or groups. Saga will articulate our DEIB goals internally and externally for greater transparency, and be mindful about how we communicate about our work, mission, and students so that they are represented with respect and dignity.
We will continue to lead and manage Saga through the lens of humanity, doing everything we can to continue to make you, our students, and our partners, proud of our organization and what we stand for:
Black Lives Matter
We Stand with Black Children
We Stand with Black Families
We Stand with Black Educators
We Stand with Black Communities