[Regarding “Former Asheville Council Member Sues City, Asheville City Schools Foundation Over Scholarships,” Dec. 8, Xpress]: The lawsuit by Carl Mumpower and three families to block college scholarships for Black students is chilling. As white parents with children attending Asheville City Schools, we have wrestled with the moral imperative that comes from participating in a school system with the worst achievement gap in the state. This lawsuit highlights a critical question facing white parents in Asheville: What is our role to support the success of Black students within an educational system that has failed them?
We as white parents can choose to not hoard resources that advantage our children; listen to the priorities of Black students; support the school administration when policies shift that challenge our comfort but create more equity; and support increased educational opportunities for Black students.
We served on the board of the Asheville City Schools Foundation from 2019-21, when this scholarship was created. It was one of many initiatives to invest in opportunities for Black students. To prevent our community from continuing to fail our Black youths, white parents should demand that barriers to opportunities for Black youths are removed, and policies are implemented with an intentional focus on racial equity.
Passive approval of anti-racist efforts isn’t going to work against those who are increasingly organized to sue, elect and create fear to protect white supremacy culture and systems. Mr. Mumpower claims this is a “David versus Goliath” moment. We wonder who is the Goliath when undoing the legacy of white supremacy culture that sustains our educational system. Who is the Goliath protecting the status quo when two national conservative groups fund a legal battle for a small scholarship in Western North Carolina? We must stand loudly and visibly with our city, county, school system and nonprofits when they take action to repair historical wrongs.
— Rebecca Strimer and Kate Shem