Dear MCPK Community,

I have been struggling to write this letter for the last few days. I can’t yet quiet my mind or calm my body enough to find eloquence or wisdom. It’s hard to express how I felt watching the last moments of George Floyd’s life and the rage I felt toward all the people who stood by doing nothing to help him. The psychological impact of seeing that video will stay with me forever—as it should. I shouldn’t be so shocked by what has happened and what it reveals about our society, culture and government, but I am reeling and heartsick.  I still can’t find the right words, but I wanted to reach out to all of you to connect at this brutally painful moment in our country. I wish I could see each of you and our students in person and hug and cry and talk this through—I feel the loss of that physical contact and the comfort of our school community more deeply than ever. 

While I am still trying to process my feelings personally, my responsibility is to think as an educational leader in this pivotal moment. What can we do to show our community that we will not stand by and do nothing as so many have before? What action will we take to both support and educate our staff, families and students? How can we take all the fear, anger and frustration inside of each of us and turn it into positive action?  What can we do to ensure that our children are equipped to understand and recognize racial inequality and bias? How can we provide them with a meaningful foundation of cultural awareness and a feeling of social responsibility? I do not have perfect answers to all of these questions, but as a community, MCPK will be part of these conversations with our partners in Montclair.

We have an opportunity…not only to learn as adults from this time of terrible tragedy and to open our eyes to the truth it reveals, but to teach our children and students a better way. Each of you have chosen to be a part of MCPK as a staff member, parent or board member, so I know you share our commitment to fighting for educational equality and our passion for celebrating diversity. We will need our entire team working together and supporting each other to make it through the challenges we are facing right now.   We will not be bystanders in this fight.

To those members of the MCPK community who face racism and bias every day, to those of you who have to be afraid every time your children leave the house, we stand with you and we will take action with you.  You are not alone in this. We are here…to listen, to comfort if we can, to help, to plan and to make change happen together.

With a heavy heart,