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I know this message reaches you amidst news of ongoing state violence against Black Americans. And as thousands have taken to the streets in protest, some have been met with further violence at the hand of police.

Members of our community are responding in many ways, by attending protests, reading and learning, taking up difficult conversations, and reconsidering the ways that we all uphold structures of racism and oppression.

I’d like to offer excerpts from what some of our teachers have shared with their classroom communities:

“I believe that movements toward radical racial justice must be redemptive rather than punitive and that we must provide this possibility of redemption for everyone…I believe that if we’re going to humanize the future, we must design ways for our children to use technology not to degrade us but to elevate us so that we can live into the fullest of our capacities.” —Ann Marie Callan, 4th Grade Teacher

“As I grappled with how to bring the story of George Floyd to the classroom, I was once again ‘schooled’ but these kids, as they were the ones to begin the conversation. I provided some information for those who were not yet aware of what had happened, but the students were there to educate and listen to each other with maturity, compassion, a deep understanding of the history that got us here, and of the pain that people are in right now.” —Rachel Van Carpels, 8th Grade Teacher

I strongly encourage you to talk with your family about historical and present-day forms of racism and the systems that perpetuate them. Here’s one source of guidance, among the many available online and in bookstores.

Especially to those of us who are White, let’s commit again to using our privileges as tools for change. Let’s continue to build on the hundreds of years’ worth of powerful anti-racist work that has come before, and let’s support the power of today’s activists, as this is the work of generations.

With gratitude,
Dr. Susan Paynter, Head of School