Letter writer unhappy with Antioch School Board bypassing Sawyer-White for president, again

Dear Editor:

2019 will be the year in which our African American community is once again, not recognized for their continued and positive contributions to the City of Antioch.

What I witnessed Wednesday night at the Antioch School Board meeting was incomprehensible to say the least. School Board Member Crystal Sawyer-White was recognized by her peer to be School Board President for calendar year 2020. This was encouraging to hear the nomination and I believe instrumental to many in our community seeing an African American woman taking the reins of one of the largest and highly challenged school districts in Contra Costa County.

But the nomination was quickly challenged, and the outcome was unbelievable. The excuse was that Board Member Sawyer-White needed to understand the actions of the president role by being the vice president for a year. It appeared that some members of the Board failed to recognize that Board Member Sawyer-White was vice president in 2018 and was overlooked for the president role in 2019.

What is clear is the AUSD School Board already had an agenda not to recognize Board Member Sawyer-White and I am reminded of other actions that have occurred in this city. If you recall Editorial posted by Susanne Larson on March 2, 2019, she reflected on the actions of the City Council referencing hiring an African American City Attorney and the mockery of that meeting.

I may not know all the School Board Members personally, but I do know this is not about color. This is about having those in charged having a “liked” policy thinking and only keeping to that. It is about the fear of change that a new president with a different mindset from others will bring to the table. It is ignoring “this is how it is done” and having a strategic view instead of a tactical one.

AUSD continues to struggle in providing every student the ability to achieve success. Test scores speak for themselves!

Board Member Sawyer-White’s credentials are far from those that are serving. Though she may not have the decades in representing the city as others, but what is important is having the education, skills and background to drive a vision forward. A vision that has been lacking on the school board for the decade I have resided here in Antioch.

We lost this opportunity to really see a new leadership model and I am hoping that you will remember this in November. It is time to ask ourselves, “Do we want a board that is exclusive or inclusive?”

We don’t need to have Board Members that are exclusive in thinking as this hindered our kids, teachers and community. What we need are inclusive, inspirational thinkers that are actively engaged with administration, teachers, kids and the community at large.

Thanking you for your time.

Gil Murillo


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