Elected Republicans, former Republicans, and right-wing media have even joined this fight against teenagers and young people.
A few weeks back, someone sent me a video from the Southlake Anti-Racism Coalition. It showed parents at a Carroll ISD meeting blatantly being racist while fighting against an anti-racist curriculum. If you haven’t seen the video, here it is:
It’s appalling. Knowing everything that’s going on in the world and in Texas, especially this last year, it’s mind-blowing that in Southlake, the old Klan attitudes of the 1950s still remain.
However, the more you learn about how deep racism is in Southlake, you’ll also learn there are some very cynical forces behind the agenda of these pro-racism people you see in this video.
How the Southlake Anti-Racism Coalition (SARC) began.
Due to racism which many Carroll ISD students have suffered from in recent years, these viral videos, and many of the racial events in the country which transpired over the last several years; both students and former students of Carroll ISD banded together and formed the Southlake Anti-Racism Coalition.
They wanted to work on making the Carroll ISD school district a better and safer place for all students, especially the students of color.
The quotes on the right are the experiences of Carroll Alum and enrolled students. These show some of the depravity that these children had to deal with.
The stated mission of SARC is “Seek intersectional anti-racism change at CISD.”
Why this is important.
CISD has failed its students, particularly its students of color, who are incessantly subject to racist speech and behavior from fellow classmates, teachers, staff,
coaches, and school leaders.
Incidents are widely ignored or under disciplined by faculty and administration in the name of politicisms or appeasement of parents.
According to SARC, CISD perpetuates a culture of racism and bigotry in many spheres, both academic and non-academic. In the classroom, many former Southlake Carroll students of color recall invalidating and white-dominated conversations in history classes over genocide, slavery, reverence of the Confederacy, racism, segregation, and civil rights.
Beyond this inaccurate portrayal of history, students were/are seldom exposed to critical conversations of race.
This has had consequences in the community.
Other recent incidents of hate in Southlake.
- In 2017, a plaque at Southlake Town Square dedicated to former NFL player Frank Edgar Cornish IV was defaced with the threat of “KKK will get you, Black people.”
- On January 12th, 2020, Carroll High School was extensively vandalized with racial slurs on the day the newly founded District Diversity Council was set to meet.
The District Diversity Council (DDC) was appointed specifically in relation to the videos of CISD students using racial slurs.
The DDC consisted of 63 students, parents, and staff members.
However, CISD placed some people on the DDC whose agenda was to directly work against ending the racism which exists in CISD.
SARC has referred to these people as problematic, but they are much more than that.
Victor Avila is a former Southlake city council candidate, former ICE agent, staunch Conservative, and fan of American traitors.
Here he is recently pictured with the criminal, Michael Flynn.
This week, Trump’s base committed a domestic terrorist attack on our nation’s capital. While there are still some that don’t understand how this could happen, Avila calling Flynn, a person who committed treason, “inspiring,” is a perfect example.
Avila was placed on the DDC and has been a loud opponent against anti-racism. Some of his antics include when he claimed that systemic racism doesn’t exist during a meeting and vehemently
opposed SARC’s demand to replace school resource officers with trained mental health professionals.
While running for city council, he put out a video condemning SARC.
Attitudes like his are evidence of the inextricable link between over-policing, the Blue Lives Matter ideology, police brutality, and racism.
In another video, he was also captured using the popular white supremacy trope of “all lives matter.”
Then, there were his social media posts.
People who promote white supremacy, as seen in Avila’s social media posts should not be sitting on a diversity council that is looking to weed out white supremacy.
However, several Southlake community members, parents, and even DDC members have given testimony to SARC regarding corruption and inequality on the DDC. These testimonies alluded to as the district’s comprehensive, community-centered response to its rampant racism – to be extraordinarily undemocratic, unrepresentative, problematic, and strong-armed by administrators.
In order to improve the Student Code of Conduct, the DDC had a group exercise in which they had DDC members (in secret) rank slurs (ethnic, racial, homophobic, transphobic, etc).
Other anti-racist opposition.
Former Southlake Mayor Andy Wambsganss launched a smear campaign against SARC on Social Media.
The former spokeswoman for the NRA Dana Loresch and numerous Texas Republican politicians support her claims.
Threatening and aggresive emails have been sent to SARC.
And last summer when SARC organized a peaceful protest for Black Lives, the school board sent out a warning to parents about them.
Money buys PACs.
Because in the affluent areas of Texas, when people want to keep racism in place, they just throw money at it. One donor even contributed $20,000 to keep racism in Southlake schools.
The PAC used this money to have the former Southlake Mayor Andy Wambsganss sponsored a Petition against inclusivity in school districts and payed to run ads and robocalls.
Here is just a small part of some of the hate that SARC and students have been facing in Southlake.
The biggest fact proven by the pro-racist supporters is how badly an anti-racism plan is needed in Southlake.
Far-right Republican media has latched on to this.
Probably because of their association with donors or even politicians in Southlake, but they have put it at the forefront of conservative Texas. This includes both Empower Texans’ blog and the religious-extremists blog Texas Values.
This money and political driven agenda pushing to keep racism in Southlake schools will only ultimately hurt the students of color in CISD.
In July, the Southlake Anti-Racism Coalition released a demand letter. You can read it here. These things include:
- Publicly condemn police brutality, recognize and denounce the individual and systemic racism in Southlake, and unequivocally state that “Black lives matter.”
- Ban all white supremacist (including confederate, neo-Nazi, “white power”, and racist) imagery in any form on school property.
- Ensure that Black-led student organizations exist and are provided ample support and funding by faculty and administration.
- Implement and enforce a “zero-tolerance” policy for racism and discrimination in the CISD Student Handbook and Code of Conduct. Furthermore, codify student repercussions for racism.
- Ensure the following under the District Diversity Council’s Cultural Competence Action Plan’s preliminary intentions to establish a process for documenting, reporting, and tracking the Student Code of Conduct Offenses.
- Introduce recurring, mandatory forums for students to discuss racism, anti-racism, and intersectionality, all while explicitly acknowledging white privilege, socioeconomic privilege, and allyship.
The demands SARC is asking for are extremely reasonable.
- Ensure the equitable and reasonable use of the formalized reporting system.
- Make a concerted and committed long-term effort to diversify staff, including the hiring and retention of more BIPOC and LGBTQIAP+ teachers, faculty, and staff.
- Respond to any racist activity that occurs on school laptops with repercussions equivalent to a racist incident occurring on school property.
Why would anyone be against these demands?
The pro-racism group of parents and Southlake residents who have banded together has called their group, “Southlake Families.”
An unassuming name. They have had support from the Tarrant County Republicans and they currently have got a restraining order against the school board.
The restraining order is preventing the school board from moving forward with any type of inclusiveness or anti-racism.
They are also working legal angles to have school board members arrested for breaking quorum.
Racism in Texas is as Texan as cowboy hats and longhorns. These Southlake parents are doing everything they can to make sure it stays that way.
There are so many layers to this and it’s an ongoing situation. We’ll do a follow-up story as things progress. In the meanwhile, please follow Southlake Anti-Racism Coalition on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This is a group of teenagers and young people fighting the well-funded Conservative establishment in Texas and could use all the support from anti-racists in Texas we can give them.
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