We want to welcome everyone to the first day of our Community Forum events and thank you for being here today.
We know that, especially during this phase of the pandemic, showing up in community, especially online, takes effort and commitment. The fact that close to 250 people have registered for this year’s Forum is a testament to the importance of our work and the strength of the Coalition that we have built these past 15 years.
So thank you for being a part of the SEMIS Coalition and contributing in this way, and if you are new to the Coalition. Welcome! And thank you to the SEMIS Planning team for all of your work in leading the planning of this week’s events.
We want to especially thank the classroom teachers who are true heroes of our society and the community partners and educators who are here today. We can only imagine what life has been like for you as you’ve navigated and supported the youth you care for over the course of the pandemic. And we know that just being here today with everything going on is a bit of a miracle. Teachers–we appreciate you, we recognize what you do, and we love you.
We also want to acknowledge that there were others in the NOAA Environmental Literacy program, who have been doing incredible work, who wanted to be here but were not able to join today.
Finally, we want to welcome our featured presenters here today from AcTech in Ypsilanti Community Schools, and Renaissance H.S. in Detroit Public Schools Community District. We know how much courage it takes to be online and have discussions virtually.
This week, many of us have Buffalo and Ukraine on our minds and in our hearts. Our heart goes out to all who have suffered racist and fascist violence, abroad and in our own communities, historically, but especially over these past years.