Dear Members of the CTY Community,
In the days since the video of the senseless killing of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis was shared with the world, our country and our communities have been reeling. Faced with such horrifying injustice, people across the nation are speaking out about the reality that, every day, Blacks and African-Americans face brutality, discrimination, and a lack of basic respect for their humanity. These indignities are not new, but they have been brought back into the light, where they need to stay so that they can be eradicated.
At CTY, we have the privilege of working with academically talented young people from around the globe, many of whom will go on to be leaders in fields of their choosing. But we know that even among these equally exceptional students, their paths forward in this world and the obstacles they face vary dramatically. Studies show that Black and African-American students are less likely to be identified as gifted or academically advanced, less likely to gain access to accelerated academic programming, and more likely to experience under-matching at the college level.
Access and inclusion are central to CTY’s mission of identifying and serving the world’s brightest students, and we have taken a number of steps to try to reduce the inequities of our educational system and promote diversity in our own programs. Now, more than ever, we know that we must lean in to that commitment and continue to evaluate our practices and priorities to ensure that systemic racism and discrimination are not the thief of opportunity for students in our community—and beyond.
One way we aim to do this is by regularly reviewing our curricular offerings to ensure that we are providing learning experiences for our students that will support their development as critical thinkers prepared to confront these issues. We will also continue support for our CTY Baltimore Emerging Scholars program and financial aid and outreach efforts to ensure young Black and Brown students are better represented in advanced classrooms and, ultimately, in higher education and positions of leadership in our communities.
In addition, we know that hard work often begins at home, which is why CTY will continue, as part of the HopkinsLocal initiative, to improve our support of minority- and locally owned businesses and to combat bias and discrimination in our hiring and promotion practices. On Monday, June 8, we will also host a listening session for employees to discuss the impact of the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the far too many other instances of brutality and injustice on our diverse community.
CTY is, above all else, a place of learning and growth, and there is much understanding we can gain from these awful events and from each other. Learning starts with listening, and at CTY, we pledge to do both.
Amy Lynne Shelton, Ph.D.
Interim Executive Director and Senior Director of Research
Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth
Professor, Associate Dean for Research
Johns Hopkins School of Education