Today, the United States participated in one of the most fundamental pillars of our democracy – the peaceful transition of power. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have been sworn in as the 46th President and Vice-President of the United States in an inauguration ceremony unlike any we’ve seen before.
What makes today’s inauguration unlike any other is the context – we tuned in to see this event under the clouds of COVID-19, the collective challenges this past year has presented, threats of violence from extremists, and ongoing systemic racism which our Global Majority communities (also called “communities of color”) experience daily. This is a complex moment and despite the current challenges, we remain optimistic for a bright future. We were struck by the message of hope and of responsibility carried in the words of National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman this morning: “For while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us.”
WA Charters celebrates our nation’s democratic processes, including our rights to vote, transitions of power, and our right to peacefully petition our elected leaders. Our schools work to provide the learning and critical thinking tools necessary for scholars to act as informed members of the public; they are empowered to create change through these same democratic processes. This inauguration is an important demonstration of these principles in action.
Moreover, WA Charters looks forward to learning about the new Administration’s plans and goals for public education. Federal policy has very real effects on our scholars. Our hope is that the Biden-Harris Administration will elevate the value of a quality public education through impactful policies that support our scholars, teachers, and school communities.
This inauguration also features a very exciting first. Vice President Kamala Harris is the first woman, first Black-American, and first South Asian-American to serve as Vice President. Additionally, this Administration’s cabinet looks to be the most racially and ethnically diverse in the nation’s history. Representation matters and we are proud that charter public schools in Washington have teachers who reflect the demographics of the students they serve: 34 percent of Washington’s charter teachers identify as Global Majority. We celebrate the increasing diversity of leadership and hope that reflection will aid in the dismantling of systemic racism in federal policy. WA Charters will continue to advocate for anti-racist education practices for all students.
The theme for this inauguration was “America United.” WA Charters shares in this aspiration to unite and build bridges for the better. We do this through education and access to learning opportunities for every Washington child. We are guiding the leaders of tomorrow, together. So, on this inauguration day, let’s all work to unite under the banners of education and inclusion, and in celebration of democracy at work.
Patrick D’Amelio, CEO
Washington State Charter Schools Association