In Response to Current Events
t’s been a difficult couple of months. And while oftentimes adversity can bring out the best in us, over the past few weeks we’ve had to confront some of the worst.
Reading Time 3 mins
To our community:
It's been a difficult couple of months. And while oftentimes adversity can bring out the best in us, over the past few weeks we've had to confront some of the worst. Throughout this pandemic we’ve seen several communities disproportionately impacted by prejudice. Most recently though, we’ve directly witnessed the continued, systemic risk to Black lives.
There are no words to properly describe the atrocious events of the past few weeks. The killing of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd are not only horrific in their own right, but they are visceral reminders of the pervasive racism and injustice that Black people face on a day to day basis.
At Flatiron School we do our best to create a supportive community. We use words like love, inclusion, tolerance, and diversity to signal our values and aspire to create spaces where difference is not only welcome, but celebrated. But even (or maybe especially) as we strive to embody those ideals, we can forget the burdens that people within our community shoulder on a daily basis.
I've spent the past few days thinking about how to open this conversation and frankly, nothing seems like enough. We aspire to action, not just discussion. But silence is not an option. As an educational institution, it is our responsibility to set an example, even if only amongst our own community.
This past week we've been working to find ways in which we can support our community. Personally speaking, that work started by further educating myself on the challenges we face as a society. We still have a long way to go.
Knowing that this won’t be nearly all there is to address, here are two things we’re doing right now:
Listen more. At a minimum, this is a time when we all need to be listening. This week, we'll be hosting a series of Quaker Dialogues with students who would like to participate, as well as for staff, simply to share how the events of the past few weeks have affected us. The object of these will not be to debate each other or answer any questions, but rather to grow our awareness and empathy by hearing and connecting to each other.
Learn More. The path towards affecting positive change has to start with empathy. That can only be achieved through education. We must do more to educate ourselves about the lived experiences of those in our community who are suffering daily at the hands of racial injustice, and I hope this begins an ongoing dialogue within our community and team about how and where to learn more about the experiences of our colleagues, students and friends.Here are some links that our team is sharing and reading:
This episode of Code Switch revisits a moment in 2015 that feels painfully similar to this one.
Ibram X. Kendi created a reading list of anti-racist books, written from different perspectives.
Trevor Noah speaks about the grim connections between the last several weeks’ events.
Finally, it's impossible not to recognize the mental and emotional burden this places on our community, during a time that was already fraught with stress and uncertainty. I want to remind our students of the resources available to you, including counseling sessions through our Student Assistance Program, and your campus and program leaders, staff, and coaches. We are committed to supporting you.
As always, thank you to this community for being there for each other.
Flatiron School will be partaking in honoring Juneteenth (June 19th), to recognize the liberation of the slaves in the U.S. on June 19, 1865, all operations at our headquarters and our campus and online programs will be closed. This is an opportunity for our Flatiron School community to commemorate and continue to educate ourselves about Black history and culture.
Posted by Adam Enbar / June 1, 2020
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