After two years of virtual events, Gateway’s signature Matters of the Mind luncheon event returned to the Gateway High campus in high style and better than ever. Hundreds of guests came out to hear about the amazing things happening at Gateway Public Schools and a lively discussion with W. Kamau Bell and Kate Schatz about their new book Do the Work: An Antiracist Activity Book; more importantly, our community collectively raised more than $300,000 for students and teachers in an incredible show of generosity and faith in our shared work.
“Gateway Public Schools is only as strong as the community that stands behind our students and teachers,” said Executive Director Sharon Olken, addressing guests at the event. “And that has never been more clear than the ways all of you hear today and many, many more of our friends and neighbors have shown up for our schools as we’ve navigated some truly historic challenges together.”
Bell and Schatz spoke with KQED’s Ariana Proehl about the kind of impact they hope their new book will have, their own journeys related to race and privilege, and how members of the Gateway community can share in the work to build a more equitable future for everyone.
“It’s not just about what you’re against. It’s about what you’re for,” said Bell. “The ‘for’ is where the hope is, where we can get to the other side of all this.”
Another highlight of the program was the presentation of the Gateway Community Impact Award, which this year was given in honor of the Burl Toler family. Burl Toler was a San Francisco sports football hero before he became the city’s first Black principal (and later, the NFL’s first Black coach). Today, the Gateway campus bears his name, a member of his family always sits on our board of trustees, and the Burl Toler Scholars program at GHS provides support to young people of color who are committed to academic success and college. The award was presented to Greg and Valerie Toler by Kenechi, Ikenna and Chinedu Anigbogu, brothers and alumni who went through the program as students.
“Burl Toler’s vision of public education that draws on the strengths of young people and opens doors of opportunity for all students is a reality at Gateway today, thanks to his family’s commitment to the campus and community he loved,” said Chinedu.