Cammack urges time for reflection

Dear musd staff and community,

From a very early point in my college years, I knew with clarity that my purpose was to work in the field of education. I believed my work as a teacher could make this world a better place for all children, ultimately making it a better place for all people, as the children I taught would go on to improve the world in their own unique ways. Today, at the core of my work, each and every day, my goals and belief remain the same – to make this a better world for all children.

This may seem like too idealistic of a dream to some, however, nothing can or will change my focus on that outcome. The need and purpose of this work have come sharply into focus throughout the last few years, but most especially in the last few weeks.

Perhaps you share the same heavy emotions and sadness I am feeling regarding the tragic death of George Floyd and the subsequent events in our country, our local Bay Area, and our society in general. Perhaps you don’t share my same emotions, either way, a better understanding of the perspective of all people, with a lens focused on equity and empathy, should be our first intention and our first course of action, both as individuals and as a school district.

This is a moment for us to reflect on the need for greater equality, to reflect on the perspectives of those who share a different journey than our own, to better analyze how our community and our school system can create changes and increased equity in our schools and community. This is a time for us, as parents, guardians, and educators to talk with our kids about what we are seeing in the world, what things we might not be seeing, and why individuals may not all see or experience things the same way. For my own children, we talked a great deal this weekend about discrimination, equality, protests, injustice, and empathy. One important discussion I had with my daughter (4th grade) was about these words from Morgan Harper Nichols, regarding empathy and the need to push past our own individual experiences and viewpoints:

“Let me
hold the door for you.
I may have
never walked
in your shoes,
but I can see
your soles are worn,
your strength is torn
under the weight of a story
I have never lived before.
Let me hold the door for you.
After all you’ve walked through,
It’s the least I can do.”
– Morgan Harper Nichols

As we move forward in MUSD, in collaboration with our educators from the Martinez Education Association (MEA), our Classified Employees (CSEA), our Administration, and in conjunction with our Board of Education, we will intensify our focus on reviewing and correcting areas of MUSD’s institutional and/or structural practices that may not be fair, just, and equitable for all students. I look forward to also including the voice of students in our discussions in the near future.

These have been constant areas of focus for MUSD for many years. Yet, our efforts and our improvements must remain consistent. Our students deserve it, our community deserves it, and our world needs it. We will think globally, act locally, and work to create the changes in social and racial justice with a focus on equity and empathy. I ask that you too reflect and take action to show more love, empathy, acceptance, and advocacy for changes that will result in a better world for our children. The future is theirs to own but ours to shape, together.

CJ Cammack, Superintendent
Martinez Unified School District

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