On June 6, 2022, Robbinsdale Area Schools sent an email to parents of middle school children titled “Equity Updates from RAS Middle Schools.” In this email, the school district supported a “Pan-African Boys’ Event” with the purpose “to empower, inspire and uplift boys of color through unity of African and African American students.” However, the school district then referred to this event as an “affinity group event.” The school district stated in the email: “This affinity group event fostered leadership among the young scholars by allowing middle school students to hear the high school students’ perspective and listen to what experiences they’ve had in RAS.” Affinity groups are groups that segregate people based on the characteristics of their identity, such as race.
The school district’s email also promoted a Family and Community Engagement (F.A.C.E.) Team. The district explained in the email that the “team’s responsibility is to aid in the engagement and involvement of the community throughout the district” and that the team acts as a “support to parents and families as needed.” The school district then explained that a major role of the team is to facilitate “affinity groups” and that these affinity groups are based on race. The school district stated:
One of the initiatives the team is responsible for is the facilitation of Affinity Groups. An Affinity Group is linked with one common purpose or interest. The affinity shared amongst members of the Affinity Groups in Robbinsdale Area Schools District is that they are parents of children of color. It can be challenging for parents of students of color to navigate through the school system. The Affinity Groups in Robbinsdale exist to provide a space for parents and guardians of each affinity group to come together to ensure their students’ academic success.
The school district’s email started by explaining that “June is PRIDE month.” The district stated that this is “when the world’s LGBTQ communities come together and celebrate the freedom to be themselves.” The district further stated that “pride gatherings are rooted in the arduous history of minority groups who have struggled for decades to overcome prejudice and be accepted for who they are.”
The school district also supported the “50th annual Twin Cities Pride festival” which allegedly featured “local BIPOC and LGBTQ+ vendors.” The email additionally included a link to “Twin Cities LGBTQ-owned restaurants to try this Pride Month and all year.”