Skip To Content

Judith Sears and Joseph Boyle delivered remarks to the D11 board meeting on April 13, 2022. See the transcript below along with the recordings of the remarks.

Judith Sears

Good Evening. 

I’m Judith Sears, and I’m speaking tonight on behalf of the El Paso/Teller County Chapter of FAIR, the Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism, an organization that counters intolerance in all of its forms by appealing to the universal concepts of fairness, understanding and our common humanity.


FAIR representatives were among those raising questions about the previously proposed Diversity, Equity and Inclusion program for D11. We believe the board has taken a pro-student, pro-human approach in allowing this version of an equity program to sunset and we support that vote. 


We disagree with those who assert that discontinuing a particular program traveling under the Equity banner must mean the school district, its employees and parents have no concern for the special challenges that people of different backgrounds may face. 


To assume that anyone who doesn’t agree with one particular approach to DEI must automatically be racist, white supremacist or at best, an unconscious enabler, exhibits the intolerance that today often travels under the name of diversity. The idea that there’s only one acceptable approach is to shut down dialogue and it’s not a good faith way to approach one’s fellow citizens. 


Certainly, no one in this room wants the ugly and tragic truth of our nation’s history with slavery and Jim Crow minimized, much less erased. I was in the third grade in an Oklahoma public school when I picked up a biography of Harriet Tubman. I read and re-read it, inspired and in awe of Tubman’s courage and accomplishments. As a teen-ager, I was thrilled to discover Sojourner Truth’s oratory in Ain’t I a Woman?


Reading about an experience isn’t living it. My life circumstances have been completely different from those of 19th slaves and suffragettes of any skin color. I know this. But I could clearly hear those women’s voices across a century.  


Over the course of my life I’ve had the opportunity to form wonderful friendships and collegial relationships with some of my African-American contemporaries. I’ve had the opportunity to learn about their lives and experiences. 


This is the ground for true diversity and inclusion – appreciating our differences while recognizing our common humanity. Not stereotyping each other and seeing each other only in terms of superficial categories. 


FAIR believes that it isn’t enough to be anti-racist. We believe we must also be pro-human. We believe that it is our schools’ primary responsibility to provide each student with the support they need to launch them toward the best life they can have. 


We urge the board to keep principles like this in mind as you oversee the continued in-house efforts to make D11 schools welcoming and positive for all students.


Thank you.

Joseph Boyle

J Boyle
Good evening, I’m speaking tonight on behalf of FAIR, The Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism.

First of all, as always, we want to be clear that we do not question the sincerity or good
intentions of anyone who was proponent of the sun-setting DEI program in D11. In our view, no one in D11 wants anything less than the absolute best outcome for each and every student in our district. The question is about how we best reach that commonly held goal.

We understand that from the perspective of some, the sun-set of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion program grant represents a lost opportunity.

However, we at FAIR see great opportunities for establishment of an environment of genuine inclusion, authentic equity, and true diversity, which we believe is found in the unique humanity of each individual human being.

Here’s why:
The typical DEI program, like the one now sun-setting in D11, starts with a baseline assumption that human beings are defined first and foremost by their immutable characteristics such as skin color; that in effect, any human being with a certain set of immutable characteristics is interchangeable with any other human being with the same set of immutable characteristics.

Research has shown that DEI programs of this sort, regardless of intention, can and often do have effects that are the opposite of the stated goal. They often wind up fostering anger, resentment, and division within work and school environments. Also, such programs are known to induce self-censorship and fear of engaging in open critical dialogue among staff and students.

According to Chloe Valdary, “(c)ommonly used practices like unconscious bias training have proven to be ineffective and can even reinforce racial stereotypes.”

This is why going forward, we urge the Board and the D11 Community to look to equity
programs which focus on our shared humanity, on finding common ground, and on taking great care to respect people as individual human beings and never as political abstractions to be viewed as little more than the statistical average of those within their broad identity category. Examples of programs that put our shared humanity first are Daryl Davis’ FAIR Diversity and Chloe Valdary’s Theory of Enchantment.

Both programs begin with what FAIR calls a pro-human approach: advocating for one human race, universal civil rights and liberties, and compassionate opposition to racism and intolerance rooted in dignity and our common humanity.

Once again, we urge the Board and the entire D11 community to consider these paths forward in D11.

Thank you