Three Burbank Unified teachers recently created the Justice and Equity Team committee as a resource for teachers in BUSD as part of the Burbank Teachers Association and held their first meeting online in September.
Mojgahn Emamjomeh of Burbank High School, Ericca Dent of Joaquin Miller Elementary and Tori Cuseo of John Muir Middle School joined forces this summer to form JET.
The committee aims to “create a space for BUSD educators to reflect on their practice, access and discuss information on racial and social justice in education and make substantial (and needed) change throughout our district.”
“The reason why we started JET is because the majority of teachers in Burbank, and in the United States, are white,” commented Cuseo. “The responsibility of dismantling centuries-old racist systems in education falls on us, the educators.”
“Every child deserves a teacher who understands them, makes them feel safe and shows them mirrors of themselves in class,” she continued. “White students deserve windows into the lives of their peers of color, both in Burbank and in the world.”
JET’s short-term goal is to provide interested BUSD teachers “with both a space and a toolbox of resources to reflect and discuss their journey toward antiracist educating.”
Long-term JET hopes to have teachers from every BUSD school site involved, “defining and working towards meeting their goals for equity and justice.”
“I’m looking forward to collaborating with other teachers on how to be an anti-racist educator and following it up with action,” said Dent.
“As a second-grade teacher, I want my students to see themselves and others in the curriculum I teach and the books I read.”
“I’m looking forward to taking the steps in creating an anti-racist and inclusive classroom, school site and district,” commented Emamjomeh.
“I want students to feel heard and represented and I’m excited to collaborate with other teachers to find ways to make this happen through curriculum, discussions and actions.”
JET uses Google forms and conversations to find out what teachers need or want from the monthly meetings. The committee welcomes all interested teachers to join.