Head of School Sam Houser shared this message with the community on April 20, 2021.
I know that the news of the day is weighing heavily on many of our hearts and minds. The trial of Derek Chauvin, the police officer charged with killing George Floyd, has gone to the jury, and this is momentous in and of itself. It feels even more so, however, because since this trial began on March 29, at least one person a day has died at the hands of law enforcement, including Daunte Wright and Adam Toledo.
Additionally, 2021 has seen an average of one mass shooting per day in the United States, and anti-Asian hate crimes have risen dramatically. We are also seeing a significant effort to ban transgender students from school sports in parts of the country. And of course, all of this is playing out against the backdrop of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. While each of these realities is distinct, one can be forgiven for wondering, in a time of stress, fatigue, uncertainty and change, if our society is going to be defined by violence, exclusion, hate, and malignant indifference.
I know that our community is already well-informed about the challenges facing society. I do though think it is important to name our concerns and fears, our deeply held questions, and our commitments to ourselves and each other.
George School will continue to take a stand as an anti-racist institution that privileges listening and progress through peace, rather than exclusion and violence. We are committed to modeling inclusion, equity, social justice, cultural curiosity, and cultural competency, and to teaching global citizenship skills and empathy while creating an affirming space of belonging for all members of the community. As a Friends school, it is incumbent upon us to lean on our mission statement, core values, and statement of inclusion as we confront and reflect on our own biases as individuals, educators, and community members.
It is also incredibly important that we always, but especially in times such as these, re-affirm our commitment to support one another. As Associate Dean Keith Wilford has put it, we need to show “LUV” — “listening, understanding, and validating” the culture, backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives of all members of the community.
As the week unfolds, let us hold in the light the all-too-many who are suffering at this time at the hands of violence and injustice. Thank you as always for being there for each other in care and support.