We Cannot Understand - But We Can Stand
Nothing is as central to our American ideal as E Pluribus Unum: Out of many, one. As our governor has said, it is both our enduring promise and our continuing challenge. How our nation and our state faces that continuing challenge shapes our future and reveals our heart to a watching world. We are now called on to once again confront the insidious presence of racism in our society that undermines the principles of our very reason for being. It has no place in a nation defined by its pluralism and it certainly should have no place in rural New York.
Rural New York lives by a code of community. We value the contribution of each community member and assist with the needs of every community member. As we face unprecedented struggles, we are being urged to focus on our differences. We will not. The Rural Schools Association and the 320 school districts we represent will uphold America’s promise of shaping the civic pride and the inclusive nature of our society through instruction and example. By thought, word and deed we will do our utmost to provide each and every child in our care with their very brightest of futures.
We are not naïve enough to believe that racism does not exist in rural communities. It does. Yet, we are not weak enough to tolerate its continued existence. We are facing staggering economic, demographic and cultural challenges, yet we will not shrink from the courage needed to call out racist ideology as it presents itself in our schools, in our communities and in our homes. Rural New York can thrive again only if we accept all, work with all, support all. We will endeavor to become a haven of acceptance and equality. We will educate children to uphold those ideals that created and sustain this nation; that all persons are created equal and have the same inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness-and we will send those children into society armed with the knowledge and experiences needed to carry that message to others. It is said that rural America fuels, feeds and fights for this nation. Now we will work to heal it.