EdisonLearning joins many millions of Americans this week in mourning the death of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Minneapolis area resident who was killed just as he was beginning the journey into adulthood ― before he had the chance to live his full life and pursue his big dreams. As Daunte’s mother shared, he was a son, a brother, an uncle, a grandson, and so much more. He was a recent high school graduate who participated in Project Success, a non-profit that helps students plan for their futures. Above all, he was a young man who should still be alive today.
Tragically, Daunte was the latest to join the list of young Black men and women killed by law enforcement in avoidable circumstances. Research shows that the rate of fatal police shootings in the United States is increasing, and the rate among Black Americans continues to be much higher than that for any other ethnicity. We can only reverse this trend if we recognize, address, and confront the issue. This involves the challenge of working through our exhaustion, sadness, and anger to make positive changes that work toward our common goal of protecting Black lives.
Likewise, we must also not let pass the hundreds of other senseless deaths that occur daily throughout our country. On Monday, a student gunman opened fire in a Knoxville, Tennessee high school, and was killed after wounding a police officer. A 3-year-old Hartford, Connecticut boy was shot and killed by a stray bullet from a drive-by shooting while sitting in a car with his mother. There are countless more stories of Americans young and old whose lives have ended in similar tragedy. We must value and protect these lives equally.
The victims are our students, graduates, neighbors, brothers, and sisters. They are our friends, our sons, our daughters, mothers, and fathers. Many, like Daunte, are young people no older than the students EdisonLearning works with in schools nationwide. To those of you feeling the trauma of yet another killing, we feel your hurt and we stand with you. You matter and we are here in your corner.
As an education system, we set ambitious goals for ourselves and our learners ― to enhance equitable access to high-quality teaching and learning, and to ensure that every student is adequately prepared for college, career, civic participation, and life. These goals, while specifically held among those in education, are not unique to us. In fact, they are shared by most Americans, and the majority of our fellow citizens understand that change is needed. But if we are to see these objectives through, we must boldly stand in support of that final piece ― life ― and state that it is unacceptable for lives to be cut short again and again.
Collectively, we must condemn violence and senseless death. We must call out wrong when we see it and stand for right. Together, we must embrace the sanctity of life and decide that our mission doesn’t end once a child graduates school, but that we must truly strive to create a country in which every person of every race, age, religion, gender identity, or sexual orientation has the opportunity to live out their life and fulfill their unique promise.
- Thom Jackson, EdisonLearning President & CEO