KIRKWOOD, MO. – A week after several schools in the Kirkwood School District were vandalized with racially charged vandalism, the district, and surrounding community is coming together in solidarity to discuss healing and learning.
Although the graffiti was cleaned up prior to children arriving at school, the vandalism disturbed many people in the community, especially given the timing in the proximity of the violent attack on the US Capitol.
“Our kids and community are watching and they need our support and it is our conviction that hate has no home here”, said Dena Bashiti and Kim Linhares who have children that attend Kirkwood schools. “We choose to stand in solidarity with our Kirkwood students, faculty, staff, and neighbors against any injustice that affects our community of color and our community at large”.
Parents, students, staff, and members of the community met on the sidewalk of Dougherty Ferry outside Kirkwood High School Tuesday morning. Many showed up holding signs of encouragement and shared their shock, sadness, and confusion about the hateful messages.
“We are hurting as a community”, said one parent. ” I hope this encourages more white voices to come out, this is what community is, we take care of each other, we show up for each other and that is what people did today”.
One organizer commended the work of Kirkwood’s administration support and opening the dialogue with students.
“I want to thank Dr. Ulrich and entire the KSD community”, said one organizer. “Racism against our black and brown community is tightly woven to our society. And we acknowledge that it will not change if we white people do not change, stand up and speak out and hold others accountable”.
District officials say they are still continuing to work closely with the Kirkwood Police Department on the investigation and working to unify their community.
The specifics regarding the messages have not been released to the public.