As part of a series of “Core Values” talks during a KIPP NYC professional development week, Eric Cato, a dean at KIPP Infinity Elementary, delivered a personal and powerful talk on race and our role as educators in combatting systematic racism.

“In the age of being woke, people assume that because they’re in education or because they work in our schools, it automatically makes them anti-racist,” Cato says. “Being just an ally is not enough,” he argues. What’s needed is for educators to go beyond being an ally to become what Cato calls a “co-conspirator.”

“A co-conspirator makes themselves available to strategize and act,” he explains. “A co-conspirator acts out of solidarity, not charity, They continuously disrupt systematic racism and are not paralyzed by fear. I know it’s not fun, safe, or convenient. But it is necessary if we want to see a change.”

Watch his whole talk here and stay tuned for more videos from KIPP NYC staff.