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June 2, 2020
For More Information Contact:

JP O'Hare

(518) 474-1201



Statement by Chancellor Betty A. Rosa, the Board of Regents and Interim Commissioner Shannon Tahoe

It is with heavy, broken hearts that we join our voices with those mourning the indefensible and tragic death of George Floyd.

America’s greatness lies in our diversity, our tolerance, and our willingness to accept and welcome others. These are our nation’s founding principles. Sadly, these very ideals are now under attack, as some seek to divide us based on our differences. But we know that, ultimately, civility, dignity, compassion, and respect will prevail – they will unify us and will lift us up as a state and as a nation.

As a society, we must do better. This is a time to come together.

That is why the Board of Regents and State Education Department continue to make educational equity the cornerstone of our work. It is why we continually stress the need for high-quality civics education in our classrooms. It is why we have invested in New York’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative, which is focused on closing and eliminating the opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color so that all young people have the chance to reach their full potential. We are working to change the narrative that has too long divided our young people.

Now, more than ever, we have to help empower our students to develop their ability to make informed decisions to enhance our interconnected world and to believe in the power of their own voices and actions.

Right now, our students are physically distanced from their teachers and peers by this pandemic. We must recognize that they have lost the fundamental support system and source of discussion and emotional outlet that the classroom normally provides. Educators, adults who are likely struggling to make sense of this tumult themselves, are once again heroically stepping up to find new ways to support their students, to encourage and comfort them through this teachable moment.

We must find a way to make meaning of these horrific events to create a better society for our children. New York State’s rich diversity is its strength. In our role as educators and civic leaders we must empower students to become active, engaged participants in our multicultural democracy. A culturally responsive, sustaining education can provide opportunities to learn about power and privilege, and empower learners to be agents of positive social change.