Tag Archives: Sunita Garg

Your 2021 Beaverton School Board Voter’s Guide

If you read your 2021 Washington County voter’s pamphlet, there’s a lot of delightful and often neutral sounding stuff in there: let’s get back to school, let’s keep class sizes down, let’s keep kids safe. We all want that. But there’s a lot under the rhetoric. Let’s break it down.

  • Four races are happening for Beaverton School District positions.
  • Everyone who is a voter within the Beaverton School District boundaries votes in all the races.
  • Our school board is seven members, six are white (the one Black member of the board is not running for re-election and her spot is open).
  • Our county is over half people of color. Race does not determine someone’s views or positions, but lived experience is important to bring to the board. For example, our school district disproportionately disciplines Black and Latinx kids, kids who come from families with low-incomes, and special ed kids. We need school board members who will actively build relationships within those student populations and not rely on the district and other school officials explaining away the problems.

We can assume that everyone in the district is a good person and no one is intending to cause harm. And yet we still have very inequitable outcomes for students. Nice people is not enough. We’ve had plenty of time with white, don’t-rock-the-boat school boards. It’s time to meet the moment and get a board ready to achieve equity and seek racial justice. Let’s get some shit done.

Here’s who to vote for:

Ugonna Enyinnaya. As an attorney, an immigrant, a woman of color, and a mother of a BSD student, Ugonna will bring skill, unique insights and important lived experiences to the School Board.

Ugonna will make an excellent school board member and bring a perspective that the board sorely needs. She’s very interested in listening to students and is raising a son who is currently in middle school. Raising a Black son in the Beaverton School District is a challenge. We need Ugonna’s voice. And yet, this is the hardest race to win because Ugonna’s opponent is a very middle-of-the-road white lady incumbent. In the school board meetings I’ve watched, I can’t point to one interesting thing that Ugonna’s opponent has said. But she’s a safe white lady who has been on the board. Those things alone will probably sway white, middle class voters. But not us! We’re voting Ugonna. Let’s do this, people!

Dr. Karen Pérez-Da Silva. Karen has 20+ years of experience in education and advocacy. Her expertise in bilingual, bicultural education, along with her support of initiatives to diversify the teacher workforce in Oregon will build momentum for racial justice in our school district. She’s awesome. Of course vote for her. She’ll be running for a higher position at some point I hope–she’s incredibly talented.
Sunita Garg. Sunita believes taking an in-depth look at the diverse BSD population is critical to eradicating the status quo. Sunita’s experiences and perspectives are key for strong action toward achieving equity for all students. Sunita’s opponent Saralyn Dougall is running on an all-lives-matter platform. She believes Black lives matter insofar as everyone matters. This is a problem because in order to create a more just society, we have to look at how our society has been set up specifically to drive inequality for centuries. More on this below. Vote Sunita. It’s important.
Now this is a fun race. Susan Greenberg has been on the school board and she’s fine. Susan is more willing than other current school board members to talk about equity, and yet we still haven’t seen strong stances from Susan when it comes to meeting the needs of our students facing the most trauma–whether due to race, class, or immigration status. But, Susan’s opponent Jeanette Schade is a real bummer of a candidate. Think white Christian nationalism and… well that really sums it up. Christianity is entwined with white supremacy going WAY back, and the trouble is that the dulcet tones of eternal salvation through a rigid interpretation of the Bible that only accepts heterosexual, cisgendered people who stick to specific male/female norms are just so sweet. I’m Christian (devout, progressive), and this white Christian nationalism BS really gets my panties in a wad. So vote for Susan. Susan is CLEARLY the right choice, just also please donate to Ugonna’s campaign and maybe be real about the fact that Susan is still very middle-of-the-road. But with a cool new board around her, there’s hope!

Confusing Rhetoric Explained

We’ve seen candidates like use confusing language. Let’s unpack some of it.

What does it mean if you hear a candidate say that science should be taught “based on biology”?

This is transphobic language. It means the candidate believes that sex and gender are always the same. Our LGBTQIA+ students suffer under policies made based on this thinking that excludes students who don’t conform to heterosexual norms. This is the same type of thinking that has allowed the spread of discriminatory anti-trans legislation like “bathroom bills” and athletics bills. We should be seeking to undo and heal harm rather than perpetuate it.

What does “politics out of schools” mean?

“Politics out of schools” is being used in backlash to 2020’s racial justice tipping point. It assumes that before 2020, schools were neutral and apolitical. The fight for Black lives, equity, and human rights is not inherently political, but it does mean reexamining school norms and learning to be better.

What does it mean if you hear a candidate say that Critical Race Theory has no place in our schools or is racist?

Critical Race Theory (CRT) has been around for decades. It’s a field of study that helps people see where and how racism exists today. In order to fight racism, we must understand how it works. Racism is much more than our own individual beliefs. Critical Race Theory helps us see how the long history of slavery, segregation, Jim Crow, voter suppression, immigration practices, etc. continue to impact US laws, policy, attitudes, education, justice, and more.

Fear-mongering about Critical Race Theory falls into a well-worn pattern of white supremacy that seeks to discredit racial justice movements. Beware of claims of reverse racism, Marxism, communism, or other fear tactics that have been used since the Civil Rights Movement to stoke fear when the status quo is challenged.

Graphics content collaboratively created by West Haven for Black Lives. Graphics by Nectar Digital Collaborative.