Black Lives Matter

Dear Providence District Families:

The murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers has ignited a long-overdue national conversation. Not only about the persistence of anti-black police brutality, but about systemic racism, which continues to permeate all levels of government and society.

These problems may have finally surfaced again in the news over the past week, but black Americans are confronted with the specter of bias, racism, and violence every day. These experiences impact them in ways big and small that do not receive media attention.

Our schools should be a place where black students and staff receive a reprieve from these daily struggles. Too often, we fall short. Every year we hear from students and staff about the racism they face, the slurs they endure, and the feelings of helplessness they experience.

As the entire School Board wrote in its letter to the community today, we are “committed to identifying actionable items to improve policies, procedures, curriculum and access to opportunities to ensure that students, families, and staff do not experience injustice and inequities in Fairfax County Public Schools. We will seek reform, reflect on our own biases and engage in difficult conversations. During this process we will partner with our community, invite public comment and seek collaboration with state and local leaders.”

We can all do better to protect our students and staff and send them a loud, clear message that racism in any form will never be tolerated, that diversity is one of our greatest strengths, and that black Americans have a history and culture we should all know and appreciate.

Each of us has an important role to play in demonstrating that Black Lives Matter and every day is a new opportunity for us to do better. We can start by listening to the voices that are crying out in pain and righteous anger.

In solidarity,


Karl Frisch
Providence District Representative
Fairfax County School Board

Talking with Children About Race

My friend Alicia Plerhoples, an FCPS parent, has permitted me to share this message that she recently posted on Facebook:

A couple of my white friends have reached out to me to ask how they talk to their preschool and elementary-aged children about the #GeorgeFloyd and #BlackLivesMatter protests. Kids don’t like to be talked at. I started a dialogue about America’s history as it pertains to race with my biracial children as early as possible through children’s books. Scroll for my recommendations; there are countless others if you look. The more your children see black Americans’ struggle, the better the allies they will make. Your children will be better human beings when they see black Americans’ lives as valid and multi-faceted, just like theirs. It’s never too early to talk to your child about race. If your children can’t read, read to them. If you’re sitting at home feeling helpless about what to do, this is what you can do and I promise you it’s an enormous help to the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

Book image

Here are Amazon links for each of these books, but please feel free to shop with your preferred bookseller:

The views contained within this newsletter reflect the views of the individual School Board member who is the publisher of this newsletter and may not reflect the views of the Fairfax County School Board.

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