The YWCA of the Quad Cities recognized several RIMSD #41 teachers and administrators as Ambassadors of Change at the annual Race Against Racism 5K event on Saturday, May 14.
The nominees were given an award for taking a stand against racism in the work that they do in their careers and daily life.
RIMSD #41 nominations:
- Brooke Greenwood, 6th Grade Teacher, Frances Willard Elementary
- Rita Jett, Behavior Interventionist, Edison Junior High School
- Jennifer Johnson, English/AVID Teacher, Rock Island High School
- Dr. Kathy Ruggeberg, Assistant Superintendent for Teaching & Learning
- Jadiem (J.D.) Wilson, Assistant Principal, Rock Island Academy
Other nominations include:
- Matt McDowell, Program Director, Camp Excel
- DyTanya Robinson, Sergeant, Rock Island Police Department
- Marty Schiltz, Specialist for School Climate & Culture, Davenport Schools
- Jamie Walker-Sallis, Equity Innovator, Davenport Schools
- Natasha Waite, Teacher, Davenport Schools
RIMSD award winners: Brooke Greenwood, Dr. Kathy Ruggeberg, Rita Jett, Venessa Taylor (receiving award on behalf of her sister, DyTanya Robinson). Not pictured: Jennifer Johnson, Jadiem Wilson.
- Brooke Greenwood: "Fighting racism is important to me because I continuously want this world to be better for the children I teach. Having people understand the history and how it continues to have an impact on society and the systems in place is extremely important."
- Rita Jett: "Racism has been woven into the history of our country for hundreds of years and it is by far in my opinion one of the biggest evils that exists around the world. Racism is defined as a specific form of discrimination based on false beliefs that some groups are superior to others, especially people of color. Fighting racism is important to me because people are imprisoned daily and treated unfairly based on people's racial bias and stereotypes. This not only happens in our communities but in our schools and our nations' capitol. In order to fight racism we must educate ourselves and teach our youth about respect and tolerance of others cultures. As an educator, one of my greatest responsibilities is to advocate for my students, especially when I see something wrong. In the words of our late senator John Lewis, a champion of human rights and civil rights leader, 'When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have to speak up. You have to say something; you have to do something.' "
- Jennifer Johnson: I want to live in a world where we can love each other unconditionally. The external structures that reflect racism prevent us from living in that kind of world. Those external structures that reflect racism need to be demolished so that we can truly love OUR PRESENCE."
- Dr. Kathy Ruggeberg: "Fighting racism is important to me because no human being is inferior or superior to another. God created us all in His image. As I continue my personal Journey, I know I am more than a human being. There is no room for racism and we must all work together to intentionally end it. As the YWCA says, we must 'UNITE rather than DIVIDE.' "
- Jadiem Wilson: "It's a pleasure and an honor to be recognized. I stand for and with embracing our differences; that is what makes the world so interesting. Embracing differences in genetic makeup, differences in perspectives, lived experiences, ethnic, racial and cultural identities is how we build strong connections. Though it is human nature to seek similarities, to build relationships, we should seek to connect through understanding and embracing our differences. I truly believe there is enough room for everybody to shine. Sharing doesn't mean there will be less for you or your group. You should always be proud of who you are, and making your light shine should never consist of dimming the lights of others."