Updated April 23, 2021

The San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools and the San Mateo County Board of Education stand in solidarity with those experiencing racism and injustice and call upon educators to seek change on behalf of San Mateo County students. Read their statement and resolution condemning racism and injustice and utilize the following resources for educators and families.

Non-Racist or Anti-Racist

Most of us, says Marlon James, are non-racist. While that leaves us with a clear conscience, he argues, it does nothing to help fight injustice in the world.

Watch the video and understand the difference between nonracism and antiracism. 

Source: The Guardian

Discussing the Derek Chauvin Verdict with Students

On April 20, 2021, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty on three counts of murder and manslaughter. Almost a year before, while on duty, Chauvin killed George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, by kneeling on his neck for over nine minutes. Floyd’s death and Chauvin’s trial amplified the demands for justice and healing in response to racial bias in policing, the disproportionate use of excessive force against Black Americans, and more broadly, the history of racial injustice in the United States. Below are resources for discussing the trial, verdict, and related events with your students:


Talking About Race and Being Antiracist

Source: National Museum Of African American History And Culture, The National Equity Project, Anti Defamation League (AFL), The Guardian, Teaching Tolerance 

Resources for Educators

Resources for Classroom Lessons

  • Why Teaching Black Lives Matter Matters | Part I (Teaching Tolerance)
    All educators have the civic responsibility to learn and teach the basic history and tenets of this movement for racial justice.
  • Lesson Support for Teaching Anti-Racism and Black Lives Matter (SMCOE)
    The San Mateo County Office of Education has called the education community to action. We must stand up, speak out, take action, and fight for a better world for our children. We are compelled to confront the racism and injustice that threaten the American dream for so many. Here are some of the resources available that can support your efforts.
  • 26 Mini-Films for Exploring Race, Bias and Identity With Students (New York Times)
    The New York Times has provided 26 short documentaries that range in time from 1 to 7 minutes and tackle issues of race, bias and identity. Several teaching ideas, related readings and student activities are provided.
  • Teaching About Race, Racism and Police Violence (Teaching Tolerance)
    These resources can help spur much-needed discussion around implicit bias and systemic racism, but they can also empower your students to enact the changes that will create a more just society.

Environmental Justice Movement

A wave of protests demanding an end to racial injustice have taken hold of towns and cities across the United States and the world. Backed by experts, these protestors have directly connected racial injustice to police violence, economic disparity, and environmental and health inequalities (many which are now linked to the disproportionate negative impacts of COVID-19 on communities of color).

The direct links between environmental issues and racial issues have long been areas of research and activism focused around the concept of environmental injustice, as described by one of the major founders of the environmental justice movement, Dr. Robert Bullard, “Whether by conscious design or institutional neglect, communities of color in urban ghettos, in rural 'poverty pockets,' or on economically impoverished Native-American reservations face some of the worst environmental devastation in the nation.”

The environmental justice movement is about shifting this paradigm to focus on environmental justice, the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people (regardless of race, ethnicity, income, or age) in the process of improving and maintaining a clean and healthful environment. Environmental justice starts with improving the lives of those who have traditionally lived, worked and played closest to the sources of pollution, and or those who are on the front lines of the impacts of climate change." (EPA, 2020) 

The concept of climate justice builds further on this topic, exploring how Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian American communities disproportionately shoulder the burden and impacts of the Climate Emergency (caused by human enhanced global warming).

Check out new Environmental Justice resources, developed by the Environmental Literacy and Sustainability Initiative (ELSI) team.

Resources for Families

Talking About Racism and Injustice