June 9, 2020
Dear Gateway Science Academy Family:
George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Philando Castile, Bettie Jones, Botham Jean, Atatiana Jefferson, Dominique Clayton, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin. These and many more lives we may never know about have been lost over the past five years, largely because of systemic racism, bias, and the unjustifiable use of excessive force by law enforcement. Black lives matter.
Gateway Science Academy (GSA) grieves the recent violent deaths and murders that have prompted widespread protest against systemic racism, deep injustice, and oppression against Blacks and African Americans. Racism has no place in our society, and we all have a moral obligation to work to eliminate it. We, the GSA Superintendent and Board of Directors, stand in solidarity with the peaceful protests taking place in the St. Louis Region, our nation, and our world.
GSA has always been committed to maintaining an environment free from discrimination. We will never tolerate racism, harassment, or violence. We stand in solidarity with our Black and African American students, families, faculty, and staff who are valued members of the GSA community. We offer you our support and are determined to build an even more beloved and inclusive community with you that represents the best of St. Louis, Missouri, and our entire nation.
For over ten years, GSA has been a model public charter school for diversity and inclusion with more than 20 nationalities attending our schools. As we “strive to create an atmosphere that provides students, parents, and teachers opportunities for continuous growth, enabling them to reach their highest potential,” we firmly acknowledge that it will take collective action and integrity as well. Thus, we realize that the rejection of systemic racism and bias will require more than just words. As we seek a reinvented and safe normal this fall, safety on our campuses will include freedom from illness and freedom from the seeds of racism, hate, oppression, division, and despair.
Prior to the most recent events taking place across our nation, the GSA Superintendent and Board of Directors began the initial stages of creating a blueprint for another strategic planning process to establish the future direction of our schools. This process will assess who we are, where we are, and where we want to go and include a review of our current policies, practices, and programming. It will also provide an opportunity to reimagine our community as we continue to work for racial equity at GSA and beyond. We will provide everyone with many opportunities for engagement and input into this process. Thus, you will play a pivotal role in our growth and success as we create a roadmap together that responds to the opportunities and challenges that we will champion together.
We want our Black and African American students, families, faculty, and staff to know of our continued commitment and support as part of our community. We are committed to fighting systemic racism and injustice. We are committed to making GSA a place of excellence in learning and a place for shelter and safety. We are committed to expanding our reach to our overall community that continually builds and strengthens one another. We are committed to becoming the people who bring authentic, positive, and lasting changes in our world. We mourn with our Black and African American community and will never forget the lives lost and impacted.
Engin Blackstone, Superintendent
The Gateway Science Academy Board of Directors:
Orville (Beau) Goerger
Jacquelyn A. Lewis-Harris
Patrick D. Walker