“We may not have chosen the time, but the time has chosen us.”
– John Lewis (1940 – 2020)
There have long been cries of injustice and a demand for change but never more urgent and more necessary than in these months after the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.
We can no longer turn away from the truth. Systemic racism, which drives socioeconomic inequality, pervades Philadelphia. It has created generations of families who could not even dream that the cycle of poverty in which they live – and have raised their children in – could be broken. Among the 10 largest U.S. cities, Philadelphia has the highest poverty rate. Every year, 15,000 students begin high school in the School District of Philadelphia, but of those 15,000, only 1,500 will receive their college degree.
This is about real, substantive action and it begins in our education system. It takes much more than just “not being racist” or “stating unequivocally that Black Lives Matter.” To do better means that we must:
Provide a system of high-quality services, programs, and staff powerful enough to create change at the institutions that Scholars are underserved and excluded from.
Be an organization dedicated to having racially and economically underserved and excluded people as key decision makers in their schools, and our work.
Provide expertise and resources to assist allies and partners to embrace anti-racist and anti-classist actions that create paths to educational and social mobility and equality for Black, Latino, and low-income students of all races.
Build a system of enrichment, partnerships, and communities that counteracts institutional racism in educational and career trajectories for the racially and economically underserved and excluded.
We have been at the forefront of fighting educational inequity for years. This is our passion and now is the time for us to engage, educate and elevate this work. We know it may seem overwhelming, but we can offer the pedagogical expertise, thoughtful processes, and key programs that every school should implement to be actively antiracist.
We are currently working with schools in the District, including Julia R. Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School, and higher education institutions, such as Temple University, and we welcome a conversation about how we might be able to help you bring forth this necessary change in your school or institution. Steppingstone is an educational and social mobility organization. But we can only be that if the educational system allows for – and encourages – that mobility for all.