Statement from Superintendent Mike Moan on Race Protests
Woodstock has been my family’s hometown for generations. I’m proud of its tradition of tolerance and acceptance for people of all races, backgrounds, identities and beliefs. This is a spirit I hope to foster as a leader in our community and of our school district.
Like all Americans, I’m saddened and angered by the recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and far too many others over the years who were unjustly killed because of institutional racism that exists in this country. These kinds of deaths must stop, and each one of us has a role to play to make our country and our community places where everyone is treated justly.
Let me be clear to our students and families of color — African American, Latino and others: We are one family, and we will always support you. We will not tolerate treatment that is less than the dignity each one of you deserves. Your lives matter. Your hopes, your dreams, your future — they all matter. That is our promise and it should be the promise of everyone in our school community.
While we’re all hurting, I remain hopeful. As a history teacher I know that great strides have been made in America after periods of great pain. We wouldn’t have civil rights without the struggles of those who marched and demanded it. Now we sense a new shift and a new awakening toward racial justice. We can disagree on points of how we get there, but we can no longer disagree that we must.
These are the moments when we realize how valuable education can be. While we teach many skills, there are none more valuable than teaching young people what it means to be a good citizen, a valuable community member, a person who seeks justice and peace. Racism is learned. It can be unlearned. It must be unlearned. This is a task we don’t take lightly as educators.
Students from the elementary school level on up learn these lessons in their classrooms. Tolerance, kindness, acceptance, bravery are all values that our teachers emphasize. We know you’ll join with us in sharing these values and have these important discussions in your homes.
I stand with those who demand better. We applaud those who peacefully use their voices to demand better communities and a better nation for African Americans, for Latinos, members of the LGBTQ community and for all minority groups who have faced injustice.
While a dark time for our nation, there will be better days. We will keep reaching closer to the day when members of all minority groups will feel appreciated as full citizens. We all owe them that much, and we can do our part as individuals to join together toward that goal.
Nearly 60 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr envisioned a world where we’d be judged by the content of our character rather than the color of our skin. Despite the passage of time, we must believe we’re still on our way toward his dream of that Promised Land.
Mike Moan Superintendent Woodstock Community Unit School District 200