Dear TAPA Students & Families,
We at TAPA are horrified by the news of George Floyd’s death; I wish I could say we were surprised. Instead, his murder is horrifyingly familiar. His images and his story take us back to so many other losses: the violent deaths of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, Michael Brown saying “hands up, don’t shoot”, Eric Garner saying “I can’t breathe.”
We want to believe that things will get better, but that is hard to see at this moment. Coming on the heels of COVID-19, which has caused such horrific damage to our communities of color, this quite simply feels like too much. There have been too many deaths. There has been too much loss.
Like after the death of Sandra Bland, people are expressing outrage against these losses, against systematic violence and dehumanization. These expressions of outrage have taken many tones: people are angry and hurt, and that anger is justified. The TAPA building was recently damaged by some of that anger, with a window broken (and one guitar stolen) during a late-night demonstration.
We can replace a window, but no one can replace the life of George Floyd, and countless others. The broken TAPA window, for us, is a symbol of how much of this tragedy is out of our control. Angry people break windows; we can’t control that. What we can control, though, is our response, and already the TAPA community has come together in love and solidarity. We’ll start with fixing our window. We’ll continue by working with you to fix our broken world.
Looking forward to the future, and with your safety in mind we want to let you know about upcoming events, how to participate if you choose, and -- most importantly -- how to remain safe.
As part of the nationwide protests, there is a youth-led demonstration scheduled for 4:30 this Friday in Providence.
As your educators, we are collecting information to ensure that if you choose to participate you are safe and supported. It is important to us that you have the opportunity to fully express your grief, rage, and pain - either at this protest, or in other supportive community settings.
As we’ve learned more about Friday’s event, many TAPA students have expressed a soul-wrenching dilemma as they determine how and where to respond to these injustices. On one side is the desire to protest collectively and in person, and on the other is an authentic fear
for their safety and of
contracting COVID-19 while gathering in close proximity and solidarity. Therefore, in addition to providing information for you about Friday’s youth-led demonstration, we will also include other options to engage in the current struggle, including many that are virtual - both within the TAPA community and outside of it.
What is most important to us is that you stayWhat is most important to us is that you stay alive and grow up into adults who can bring about the social change this country needs.
We acknowledge your experiences of racism, classism, sexism, ageism, and homophobia, and we believe that you have a relevant and powerful point of view.
We will re-share this document throughout the week with the latest information about virtual and in-person options to engage in the current struggle.
TAPA is an anti-oppression creative community that is enriched by the cultural, religious, racial, ethnic, and linguistic diversity of our neurodiverse families, students, and employees. As such, we stand together with People of Color and the Black community in protest of these atrocities. We love you all and can’t wait for the days when you are all leading this haggard society to a much brighter future than this current dystopia. Until then,
TAPA will always demand that Black Lives Matter.
If you want more info or have specific questions about the upcoming initiatives, reach out to Mr. Cordeiro, Ms. Nadeau, Ms. Bryant, or any of the TAPA Admin Team. If you need to talk or grieve or have space to be angry, reach out to any TAPA adult you trust.
With all our love and support,
Mr. Cordeiro, Ms. Bryant, Mr. Zia, Mr. Sousa, Mr. MacMannis, Ms. Sweeney-Ashby and Ms. R-H - The TAPA Admin Team
Resources and Reading For Context and Next Steps:
TAPA is an anti-oppression creative community that is enriched by the cultural, religious, racial, ethnic, and linguistic diversity of our neurodiverse families, students, and employees. As such, we stand together in protest of the systematic violence and dehumanization of People of Color and the Black community.