Our Mission During This Time
As a school community that embraces, teaches, and supports social justice, our hearts go out to the families of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, as well as to those communities and individuals like me who have been impacted by their deaths.
The impact on me has been particularly acute. As an African American male, husband, father, son, and brother, I have mixed emotions (depending on the day) of anger, sadness, disbelief, and, yes, fear. To get through the day, I usually have to suspend them. To imagine myself on the ground with a white police officer's knee on my neck, not able to breathe, and crying for my mother, because of an alleged counterfeit $20 bill is hard to fathom. In these moments, being a first-generation private school college graduate with a Master's degree and head of a historic Philadelphia independent Quaker school does not protect me as a black man in America. And to be reminded of this truth every day because of systemic racism is outrageous and frustrating.
The systemic racism in our country that caused these recent deaths is horrific, inhumane, and unacceptable, and we are committed to working to dismantle it.
Now more than ever we need to live our mission as a Quaker school. Together with our Friends Select families we must not only reinforce our belief of "respect for all" through our teaching but also by demonstrating it; championing a peaceful resolution to the violent conflict between the police and protestors that has grown each day across the country since the killing of George Floyd; and seeking the truth about the pernicious and pervasive role racism plays in our country.
Here are a few resources to help in the journey of continuing revelation:
- "Talking Race with Young Children" (NPR)
- "Raising Race-Conscious Children" (A Cup of Jo)
- "Seeing White" (Scene on Radio)
- "Race & Ethnicity" (Teaching Tolerance)
- "George Floyd. Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. What do we tell our children?" (USA Today)
- "Talking to Children After Racial Incidents" (Penn GSE News)
- "Helping Children Cope with Frightening News" (Child Mind Institute)
Please know that our director of equity and inclusion Toni Graves Williamson, school psychologist Natan Gottesman, and middle school/upper school counselor Gabby Witkin are available as well for support. Also know that our school building was not affected by the protests and ensuing incidents that took place in Philadelphia over the weekend.
In it together,