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Against Systemic Racism: A Message from the Co-Founders of Whooo’s Reading

Against Systemic Racism: A Message from the Co-Founders of Whooo’s Reading

Like many of you, we are heartbroken and agonized over the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. We are still processing how best we can engage as a company and as individuals.

To speak clearly: We condemn the violence and prejudice that has been directed against Black people in this country throughout our history and in our present day. We stand with Black communities and for racial justice. We are hopeful about the future, as we see people across America turn out to condemn the unequal treatment of the Black community before the law and elsewhere in our institutions and society, but we also know that we cannot become complacent.

Right now, racism among law enforcement and in our legal system is, justifiably, the focus of our national attention. We know, though, that racial inequalities exist throughout our education system. We want to speak here about our own responsibilities as a small part of that system and what we are going to do to promote change.

At Whooo’s Reading, we try to meet the needs of schools in all communities; to help teachers customize their instruction to the particular needs of their classrooms, and to help students discover for themselves what they love to read. 

Nevertheless, we have realized during conversations within our Whooo’s Reading team that we should be doing more to address the specific needs of Black and other marginalized communities, both as a website and as a company. Acting on the principle that if we are not actively confronting systemic racism we are complicit in perpetuating it, we are pledging to do more to actively investigate how our program can be better on these issues and to then put those changes into effect. 

If you are a user of Whooo’s Reading, in any capacity, we would be grateful if you could share your thoughts with us here. We recognize that people from marginalized backgrounds are asked to do the effort of educating others, and so we appreciate anything you do to help us better serve the community. Beyond the survey, we will also be proactively reaching out to schools and teachers for feedback on this. Once we’ve collected feedback, we first plan to publicly share what we have learned and then share what steps we decide to take based on this feedback.

One thing we can do immediately is add content to our platform. In that light, in the next few days we plan to add more content and filterable topics to our “Teacher Picks” feature within Whooo’s Reading around race and injustice or featuring black and brown people. We hope teachers can use this to easily find and assign online content to their students relevant to these topics. While we know that the school year is wrapping up for many schools, we hope teachers will find these useful during summer programs as well as next fall.

We look forward to taking the perspectives of our community and taking proactive measures to ensure the program is not only successful for all people, but actively pursues justice for our future generations.

Sincerely,

Raphael Menko and Greg Sherrid

Whooo’s Reading Co-Founders

WRforSchools
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