Every day in Austin ISD schools, we teach our kids that our founding documents hold their equality under the law as a self-evident truth and that every last one of them has unalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Our job as educators is to prepare every student, every day with what they need to thrive in a world that too often falls short of the founders’ promise. Yesterday, our students saw that promise kept with a measure of justice in an often unjust world. It is my hope that every student takes that as proof of how they can make our world a more just, more equitable, and more peaceful place.
In every tragedy there are heroes, and in George Floyd’s murder there was one whose name I want every Austin ISD student to learn by heart. Her name is Darnella Frazier. On the day of George Floyd’s murder, she was walking her cousin to a convenience store when she saw the four officers arresting Mr. Floyd. She made sure her cousin was safe inside the store before going out and filming Mr. Floyd’s murder. If she had not uploaded that video to Facebook, we would never have known George Floyd’s name, and his family might never have received justice. When Darnella Frazier filmed that murder, she was a 17-year-old Black girl in America, and she took what power was available to her, and because of her steady hand, quick thinking, courage and compassion, the actions of one girl no different than any Austin ISD student led to justice. Darnella Frazier is a hero that every Austin ISD student can look up to.
Today, Austin ISD public schools recommit to ensuring that equity and racial justice serve as our North Star, and I vow to do my part. We take solace in the measure of justice served yesterday and recognize that tomorrow we still have work to do to ensure that our students enter a society that values every one of them and a world where there is equal protection under the law not just on days like yesterday, but every day.
Stephanie Elizalde, Ed.D.,