In response to the recently leaked racist comments by Los Angeles City Council members, P.S. ARTS stands firmly in its commitment to furthering justice and equity through arts education in public schools. P.S. ARTS works closely with thousands of families across the city of Los Angeles and throughout California to provide social justice education and social emotional learning as a way to further equity-based values through its arts education programs. Through teachers, artists, and parents, we see firsthand the impact of racial and economic discrimination on children in our community. P.S. ARTS stands against the destructive statements made by Nury Martinez, Gil Cedillo, and Kevin De León that betray the students, families, teachers, and communities we work with on a daily basis. This is unacceptable behavior, particularly for leaders in Los Angeles who are expected to uplift all communities, especially those facing various intersections of discrimination. While we know this structural racism goes beyond any one politician holding office, we also know that resigning and acknowledging the pain their racist and homophobic comments caused is only a symbolic solution to a systemic problem. We are viewing this as an opportunity to speak to one another and to reflect on our commitment to our mission as arts education leaders and educators in public education.
As a response to this situation, P.S. ARTS reiterates its commitment to upholding social justice practices throughout our programs as a way to educate our students. Some of the actions we commit to include the continued use of the SPLC’s Social Justice Standards in our curriculum as well as offering educator development to all our Teaching Artists to foster inclusion and teach social emotional learning. We want our students to respectfully express curiosity about the history and lived experiences of others and exchange ideas and beliefs in an open-minded way. Through our work, we hope to foster a mindset of respect and empathy in the future leaders of Los Angeles.