“Education is the key to stomping out ignorance, hate, and systemic racism,” Whitfield wrote. “It’s a necessary conduit to get ‘liberty and justice for all.’”
It was June 3, 2020, and James Whitfield couldn’t sleep. He hadn’t been able to sleep for the last several days. As a Black man, the deaths of three Black Americans, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, weighed heavily on his mind. Their slayings by white people had been dominating the news — sparking once again national conversations about race and racism in the United States.
Last summer, protest after protest made waves across the nation. It was no different in Texas, and Whitfield, who had weeks earlier been named the first Black principal at Colleyville Heritage High School, couldn’t just sit back. He said he felt like he had a platform that other Black Americans didn’t have and he wouldn’t let that go to waste.
At 4:30 a.m., he wrote a letter to the school community declaring that systemic racism is “alive and well” and that they needed to work together to achieve “conciliation for our nation.”