The Besse Family Standing Up for Racial Equity

Tiffany Besse speaks at the FHSD Black Voices Matter March.

Credit to Photo Submitted by Timothy Besse

Tiffany Besse speaks at the FHSD Black Voices Matter March.

By Taylor Hill

Timothy and Tiffany Besse advocate for Black Lives Matter, a cause that is very personal to them. Timothy works at FHN as a math teacher, teaching Algebra I and II this year, and he’s also the math department chair. Tiffany works as regional manager for Studies Weekly which is a publications company that provides a high quality curriculum for grades kindergarten through eighth grade. 

Timothy was offered the opportunity from FHSD that invites him to attend meetings about equity within our schools, and he gladly accepted. The Besse family went to the FHSD Black Voices Matter March and Rally this June, and Tiffany even spoke at the march.

“Black lives matter, regardless of how many or how few black children you get to teach and see in your schools everyday,” Tiffany said.

The Besse family strongly believes in the idea of racial equity, which is when people of all races are treated impartially and fairly. Throughout the years, Tiffany has done many impactful things for her life and equity journey, but one event in particular really sticks out to her. 

“I was able to meet Leona Tate, who is one of the four students back during the civil rights movement to integrated schools in New Orleans, where it was an incredibly racist area,” Tiffany said, “I got to spend about a half of the day with Leona and hear her story and learn about what really happened in the ninth ward.”

Moving forward, Tiffany has many goals but especially for her own equity journey.

“Another goal of mine is to rewrite my equity story in the next six months,” Tiffany said. “2020 has presented all of us with some life challenges and I like to say who I was about a year ago when I write my equity story is not the same person as I am. I like to think that I would grow a little more over the last year.”

Both Timothy and Tiffany Besse believe that, to make a difference, you must start with yourself and work on your own personal development first.  

“Do the ‘me’ work before the ‘we’ work,” Tiffany said. “The pandemic that has always been prevalent but is still more alive than ever is systemic racism in this country, and we have to choose into doing the ‘me’ work and really self examining, in order to become the ally and co-conspirator that will take action.”

Through 2020, a year that raised awareness to racial injustice and inequity, the Besse family has stood up for racial equity and the Black Lives Matter movement – but even when this year ends, they have no intention of stopping.

“People need to be willing to have those uncomfortable conversations and willing to learn and educate themselves so that we can move in a positive direction,” Timothy said.