National PTA President Jim Accomando and Virginia PTA President Sarah Gross issued the following statement regarding the racial violence that occurred in Charlottesville, Va.
National PTA, Virginia PTA and PTAs across the country denounce the racial violence that transpired during the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville. The acts of hate go against PTA and our nation’s values of diversity, inclusion and respect. Our condolences go out to the community and the families impacted by the violence.
National PTA Cofounder Alice McLellan Birney stated in 1898: “The National Congress of Mothers, irrespective of creed, color or condition, stands for all parenthood, childhood, homehood.” Those words, true in 1898, are even truer today.
It is urgent that we understand, value and embrace the uniqueness of all individuals, appreciating that each contributes a diversity of views, experiences, cultural heritage/traditions, skills/abilities, values and preferences which enriches and strengthens our nation.
PTAs are uniquely qualified to recognize, address and honor the diversity of our communities and play an important role in helping to create inclusive school environments and ensuring that all families are welcomed and engaged. Effective family engagement must include a robust diversity and inclusion plan so all families feel invited and are equipped with the tools to support their child and improve the school, which makes a difference for every child and is the purpose and mission of PTA.
National PTA has developed a variety of tools and resources that can be downloaded at PTA.org/Diversity to help school communities embrace diversity and inclusion. Our association also offers tips to help families and educators have conversations with their children about incidents such as the racial violence in Charlottesville and use such situations to reinforce family and community values and beliefs. The tips can be accessed at PTA.org.
We know that although our differences matter, PTA’s mission to support all families and make every child’s potential a reality is what brings us together. We have the tools and resources to provide families with comfort, solace, advice and assistance. And when we are truly inclusive, we are an even more powerful voice for all children.