My name is Rachna Dube and I am a first grade teacher at Havens. I am also an immigrant and a person of color who has been working in the district for over 17 years. I feel compelled to write because I think my voice matters.
I am writing to share my thoughts and feelings regarding the response to Dr. Wozniak’s recent email for which she sent out an apology. I read the apology letter that was sent out. I recognized that Dr. Wozniak saw that her original email upset people and she apologized. As an educator my response was of admiration for her courage and her grace in being willing to make amends that a wrong had been done. I thought collectively we, educators, grew in our work as we learned from our mistakes. Then a public post showed up on my Facebook and I saw reference to the email. The comment thread was demoralizing and disheartening. I don’t have the full picture and perhaps I don’t need it for the purpose for which I am writing.
I feel the district is truly beginning to tackle the courageous work of dealing with social and racial justice. I see the changes around me. I see them in the faces of the people I work with. I see them in the discussions we have as a staff, in the conversations we are encouraged and are being equipped to have with our students and in the support we are given by our administrators when we tackle these issues. I know that Cheryl has been instrumental in bringing this work to us. I personally have gained tremendously from the equity work we have delved into including the trip to the Museum of Tolerance, which was profoundly impactful and deeply informs my approach to social justice issues.
It takes enormous courage to tackle difficult topics. I hope that as we, educators, take on this important work that it is recognized that we will make mistakes if we are to grow. I hope that our integrity is trusted, mistakes forgiven and that grace be shown in the moments when things are not perfect. We are not there yet, but we are moving in the right direction. Let’s support each other so we can make things better for all of us.