A Step Towards Justice

Earlier this afternoon, I was at a Board meeting for the California Association of Independent Schools where we were engaged in professional development around antiracism. We abandoned our agenda when we heard the verdict in the Derek Chauvin case was imminent and opted to view the verdict together on Zoom. We watched with anxiety and then relief as we heard the guilty verdicts. Our Board Chair reminded us that it was George Floyd’s murder and the consequent global outrage and widespread calls for justice almost one year ago that had galvanized our efforts as Board members to dedicate more time and resources to exploring and practicing antiracism so that we can help lead efforts among our fellow CAIS member schools. It felt somehow fated that we would collectively experience today’s outcome and provide support for one another.

Today we saw some movement toward accountability. While there is certainly a palpable sense of relief in the air, one verdict does not signal systemic change. It signals a tentative step toward justice. I think about the families who regularly experience fear, blame, and sorrow rather than justice; we must acknowledge that members of our community who worry about the psychological and physical safety of a brother, son, father, or husband may re-experience trauma during the coming days.

One verdict cannot eradicate a lifetime of recurring trauma for people of color, especially those in the Black community; one outcome of repeated trauma is grief–both one’s personal grief as well as the collective impact of community-based grief. I hope you are able to make space to reconcile both grief and relief.Element Banner

Children are also often attuned to community grief and to their own fears. Some children come to school keenly aware of injustice and already having experienced racialized trauma. Resources were shared with teachers (generally middle school and upper elementary) so that they are well-equipped to prepare students for the verdict, allowing them to process the outcome with trusted adults and with one another in kind, respectful, and authentic ways that ensure that every student can achieve their unique positive equation for achievement–intellectually, socially, physically, ethically, and emotionally.

Days like today reveal the value of the diversity, equity, inclusion, and antiracism work we are doing as a community—from the boardroom to our parent community to the classrooms. At the heart of our partnership with Dr. Derrick Gay is our care for every member of our community.

To ensure that all our students feel a true sense of belonging at Turning Point, we need to develop a deeper understanding of how belonging is experienced by different community members. Our work with Dr. Gay is critical to help us examine our attitudes, biases, and assumptions that can prevent us from creating an equitable space, and then to develop skills we can put into action.Element Banner

As a white person and school leader, today’s verdict compels me to double down on my own antiracist work, which in turn makes me a more authentic leader and whole human being. I encourage us all to continue making space for those traumatized by ongoing injustice and violence so that they may be seen and heard and know they belong—particularly here at Turning Point. I am truly honored to continue this important journey alongside all of you, as we work together to align our communities and nation with the ideals we want to define us all.

Below are some resources that might be helpful for you in speaking with your own children about today’s events, and these important topics. If you have discovered your own resources that have been helpful for your family, please do share them with me so that we can add them to our ongoing list.

Warmly,
Laura

Laura Konigsberg
Head of School
lkonigsberg@turningpointschool.org


Resources for Parents 

Early Childhood

Elementary

Middle School

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