“Racism separates, but it never liberates. Hatred generates fear, and fear once given a foothold binds, consumes and imprisons. Nothing is gained from prejudice. No one benefits from racism.” *
– U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, July 4, 1992
Drawing on the legacy of civil rights enshrined by our namesake and the aspirations of our founders at the Georgetown University Law Center, the “driving principles” of the Thurgood Marshall Academy Public Charter School (TMA) are diversity, community, democracy/participation, and excellence. TMA proudly continues its mission of enriching the lives of our students, providing space for each young leader to find a foothold in our complex society, and guiding the next generation of Washingtonians to even greater successes at institutions of higher learning.
This week has heightened America’s focus on racism and economic inequality. The impact of systemic racism has a visceral effect on the lives and futures of our students and our great nation. Our community’s anger over live images of police brutality is exacerbated by the current pandemic in which Black residents account for 80% of all COVID-19 deaths in the District of Columbia. Furthermore, the economic inequities still prevalent in our great City are concrete examples of the long-term, adverse impacts of disenfranchisement.
The murder of George Floyd is unconscionable and uncomfortably familiar in our United States of America, in 2020. We have been here before and, as with other recent incidents, Mr. Floyd’s tragic death is a horrific reminder of the hundreds of years of race‑based abuses and intolerance that Justice Marshall, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and other leaders of the civil rights movement fought to overcome. We will continue to leverage TMA’s voice towards an American democracy that embraces everyone, irrespective of who they are.
TMA’s Students, Alumni, Families, Staff, and Board extend our deepest condolences to Mr. Floyd’s family and collectively condemn all acts of racial injustice, hatred, and violence. Our commitment is to walk with our young leaders, to remove historical barriers, and to ensure that each student is given opportunities to shine.
* Justice Marshall proffered this statement as part of a speech made a few months after the Rodney King riots in 1992. https://constitutioncenter.org/libertymedal/recipient_1992_speech.html