Fairbanks School District hosts Zoom discussion of race and equity
On Tuesday, June 23rd, the Fairbanks North Borough School District hosted a Zoom discussion of equity and inclusion in the community.
The session, titled "Open Circles: Conversations about issues of Race and Equity", was put on by Fairbanks Coalition Builders (FCB), an organization that provides diversity and inclusion training in the borough. It brought together members of the community, as well as staff from the district, to encourage listening to others' stories about their experience with racial issues in Fairbanks.
School Board President Wendy Dominique was one of more than 50 people who attended the meeting. Attendees included district staff and other community members from a variety of backgrounds.
One issue under discussion regarded the hiring of people of color for district jobs.
Dominique explained a benefit of the session, saying, “It really helps when you’re trying to get people to understand we’re not trying to make you do something you don’t want to do, but it’s going to benefit us all if we can understand each other, and know that this is good for all. We’re not trying to take anybody’s position, but I feel like it brings out the fact that we are skilled, employable, and I’m speaking about people of color, and we’re not getting those jobs.”
Dominique expressed the need for representation for people of color in these position. "We need to give people the jobs that they're qualified for. We need to allow our students especially to see that if you work hard in school, and you get your high school diploma, you go off to college and you want to come back to Fairbanks, you should be able to get that job that you're qualified for, and you don't have to jump a bunch of hoops for. And I think the time is now more than ever,” she said.
According to Dominique, some attendees explained that their experience led them to believe that the issue of racial equity had already been solved in the U.S. “When Obama became president, people thought that that was going to do everything we needed to do for people of color. And it takes more than that,” she said.
This meeting marked the first public FCB community discussion hosted by the school district. According to Dominique, more sessions will be scheduled in the future.