June 6, 2020

Dear Academy Community,
As we continue to process the senseless killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many others, our community struggles with feelings of shock, grief, pain and exhaustion, especially our Black families, students, faculty, staff and alumni.
As I have engaged in conversations with Black friends, colleagues, parents, students and alumni, I am struck time and again by their courage and generosity of spirit. As a White ally, I continue to be humbled by their willingness to be personal, emotional, vulnerable and human. I am moved by their unbelievable strength and resolve to remain grounded in love and hope. They continue to provide guidance for our community, even in the midst of frustration, uncertainty and intense pain. It is now our work to amplify their voices, experiences and outcries for justice.   
To our Black community members, we see you and embrace you as we continue to fight for justice and healing. To people of color from different races and ethnicities, we see you and the interconnectedness of your struggles against the many manifestations of racism. We will use this moment to strengthen our collective resolve for justice and to foster a safe and loving space for your children and families to thrive.
To White members of our community, draw on our school's values of compassion, empathy, responsibility, integrity and moral courage to be a strong ally. Reach out to Black people in your lives. Choose words and actions that offer care and love. Build trust and space to receive their Truth. Ask what they need from you. Listen.
For additional advice on how to be an effective ally, please watch this video by my colleague Dr. Pascal Losambe, who is our Upper School Dean of Students as well as co-founder of Synergy Consulting Company with his wife Crystal. If you have not already seen them, you should also read last weekend's letter from Head of School Melissa Soderberg, Dr. Losambe's email to our upper school students and the editorial response by our student journalism program. As all these voices suggest, commit to learning about race and racism. Act against injustice. Even if you don't know exactly how, do something to interrupt the silence that exacerbates the pain.  
It may be difficult to see and feel what the school is doing during summer recess and the additional challenges of COVID-19. Know that we are engaged and immersed in responding to what this moment demands of us. We are committed to conversations and listening that inform ways to move forward meaningfully. Importantly, we are working on how to bring our community together at a time when COVID-19 keeps us apart, beginning with an evening gathering this week. Look for further information and details on that in a separate communication.
In the meantime, we encourage you to take the "Justice in June" challenge. If you choose to join us and would also like to participate in a weekly action group, please reply to this email with your name and email address so that I can follow up with you regarding collective learning experiences.
A teaching that has stuck with me is "your absence may not be noticed but your presence will always be felt." Reach out. Take care of each other. Show up.
We are energized by the consciousness and desire to engage from all parts of our community. We must now work to harness that resolve in thoughtful action. You will hear more from us soon.
With warmest regards,
Director of Diversity and Community Life
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