Dear Beaver Community,
The most frustrating part of living in this virtual environment is that we don’t have the opportunity to have those in-the-moment conversations. Those spontaneous interactions in the hallway, those times when we need to talk about something right now.
We are feeling that more than ever in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd. While none of us condones the violence that has overshadowed peaceful demonstrations (and it’s not clear who the instigators are), it is more important for all of us to focus on why this crime has shaken our country. In this essay, President Obama speaks powerfully about that. For people of color—and I would hope for all of us—this is not a “How could this happen?” moment; it’s a “Why does this keep happening?” moment.
In recent months, we have seen the murders of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. We have heard a white woman, Amy Cooper, calling the police—knowing she would get a quick response—because she felt threatened by a black man bird watching in Central Park. In the midst of this, people of color have suffered disproportionately in this pandemic. In The LA Times , Kareem Abdul-Jabbar captures all of these emotions and reactions.
These and countless other incidents keep happening. Telescope lenses revealed planets and stars that already existed; cell phone data is revealing systemic racism that hasn’t changed in any meaningful way. George Floyd’s murder is shocking but not surprising. Systemic racism has always existed, but now it’s on film. While at BVR we encourage a range of views on many issues, systemic racism is not up for discussion.
My heart goes out to our families of color for all you are experiencing at this time, for the painful conversations you are forced to have. We are fully committed to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) work, but we need to get better. We need to get better at supporting students and families of color, and supporting teachers and administrators of color. We need to openly acknowledge that when we do DEI work the #1 issue we need to address is race and racism. Too many white people are reluctant to talk about race. That can’t and won’t be the case at BVR.
Again I wish very much that students and teachers could be together. Although I won’t be here in the fall, I can assure you that today’s pain and passion will not fade over the summer.
Head of School