Contact Information:

Carolyn Nelson-Goedert

Salandra Benton

February 16, 2018

Statement from Real Talk Coalition for Education Equity Co-Chairs, Carolyn Nelson-Goedert and Salandra Benton re: United in Grief and Action -Shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas H.S., Broward County, Florida.

To the families who have suffered loss and trauma resulting from the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the Real Talk Coalition sends its thoughts, prayers, and condolences.

To the students, faculty, and staff of the high school, we offer our solidarity and commend your courage.

To the people of Parkland and the surrounding area, we recognize the wide impact that the attack upon innocent students and teachers has on your community. Your immediate compassionate response inspires us. We are united in grief with you.

We pledge to be united in action. The Broward School District and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have done their homework and trained well for the unthinkable to happen. Because of their proactive work, many lives were saved. Faculty, staff, and students knew what to do. Yet still this mass killing on February 14, 2018 stands as one of the worst in U.S. history. Clearly preparation for acts of terrorism, like knowing where to hide from a gunman, is not enough to prevent attacks.

The Real Talk Coalition for Education Equity endeavors to put stakeholders before policy-makers to help shape positive actions toward delivering high quality education to all students. Stakeholders, especially faculty, students, and families, must be invited to help design the solutions that will keep our children safe. There are many thoughtful bi-partisan proposals stalled in the legislature and Congress. Those proposals must be considered in earnest and stakeholders must be included in the conversations.

As Parkland, Broward County, and Florida mourns for its lost children and their protectors, let our mourning turn toward action so that terrorizing students becomes abnormal again.


The Real Talk Coalition for Educational Equity (Real Talk) works to advance education equity policy that support delivering high quality education outcomes in every school, while holding all decision-makers accountable, especially to children of color who have been systemically deprived of necessary resources. Real Talk is comprised of civil rights, education, and community organizations from across Florida who have banded together to identify and support solutions that help Black, Hispanic, low-income, and other underrepresented students succeed in school and beyond. At the core of the coalition is a steering committee of eight statewide organization representatives who have guided early community outreach efforts and advocacy strategy meetings. More information is available by contacting the Real Talk Coalition at