To the Editor:

Community Hands of Central Texas believes every community member should be valued and treated with dignity and respect. Their race, religion, gender, socio-economic status, military affiliation, age, or any other attribute should not be a factor in how they are perceived or engaged.

Mikhail Gray, staff sergeant, received a Letter of Reprimand for statements made during the June 16 Killeen ISD Board of Trustees meeting. Her discourse was directed to the Board of Trustees and Superintendent John Craft regarding an email.

The actions of Mrs. Nancy Duran (KISD’s Chief College, Career and Military Readiness officer), who contacted her Chain of Command, harkens back to the Jim Crow Era with its racial caste system that provide threats to employment and life for Black community members that would lend their voice and support to eradicate injustices.

The Letter of Reprimand that Staff Sergeant Gray received is a vivid reminder that the racial caste system still exists. This punitive action will have a significant impact on Staff Sergeant Gray’s career. It is notable that these types of actions can only occur in a culture that is supportive of them.

A grievance has been filed with the school district for this egregious action. This event will provide a “chilling effect” for military members to offer feedback. Community participation in school board meeting is abysmal at best, and this does not help with public relations regarding the military.

Our community deserves better and hopefully this will be the catalyst that will inspire community members to turn out and vote, be more vocal and present at school board meetings, and more engaged regarding the school district.

Rev. Philemon Brown

Leon Burch

Community Hands of Central Texas

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