On Saturday and Sunday, we learned of two separate crimes on separate coasts linked by hate, violence, and racism. I have been feeling compelled to write to you about these events and the impact they have on our families and, ultimately, on our children. I want to be clear that these visible, extremist acts of terror signal the serious work we still need to do as a nation to create an equitable society where everyone belongs.
Turning Point School is pleased to announce its inaugural Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), Raúl González. Mr. González will join Turning Point in July 2022 as part of the senior leadership team reporting to Dr. Laura Konigsberg. He will work collaboratively with all departments and constituents to advance DEI initiatives and ensure the school furthers its strategic goal to drive a culture of inclusion and belonging.
Over the past five years, Turning Point has applied the lenses of equity, inclusion, and antiracism to approach teaching and learning, to guide our relationships with each other and our students, and to ensure that our school policies address systems that underlie inequities. I am thrilled to announce that we have synthesized and codified all this important work into a new webpage and accompanying PDF, Our Commitment to Equity, which I invite you to explore at the link below.
Our mission: We open our doors every day to create a dynamic learning community in which each child grows into their best self. This mission provides purpose and intentionality: we are committed to fostering the development of each child, every day so that they may thrive as citizens of a complex and interconnected world. Students learn that the gateway to personal fulfillment is inextricably connected to their experiences belonging to a dynamic learning community during their time at Turning Point School.
This past year has provided myriad challenges and has revealed innumerable gaps in my knowledge about the world. This was the year we had to shift from believing the world should show up a particular way to understanding—often painfully—that the world just shows up. We don’t get to choose our crises, but we can decide how to respond. This awareness has redoubled my commitment to educating the next generation and has clarified my calling as an educational leader.
There is much work to be done when it comes to achieving racial justice, defending democracy, and ensuring equity--and our children will inherit what is left of the challenges we cannot resolve. We owe it to them to amplify our own commitments to these priorities. I feel re-energized to continue my efforts toward social change as one person among the multitudes working to “bend the arc of the moral universe more towards justice,” in the metaphor first envisioned by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and referenced by President-Elect Biden.
Whatever your political leanings, I think we can all agree that the polarization of our country has slowed our ability and responsibility to evolve as a democracy. Our children are the ultimate casualties of this divisive landscape, as they struggle to make sense of the deep chasm they see dividing so many adults in their lives. We owe it to them to continue foregrounding the values we want them to learn from us: candor, respect, integrity, kindness, sincerity, self-control, inclusion, equity, justice, and love.
I remember clearly when President Clinton appointed Justice Ginsburg to the Supreme Court, as I was just beginning my doctoral studies. While she was not the first female Supreme Court Justice, her ascension represented the breaking of a glass ceiling (I also naively imagined by the time I’d finish my Ph.D., the challenges women face juggling work and family would be ironed out!). But despite coming to terms with the too-slow rate of positive change, I did find myself inspired by and replicating some of her virtues: hard work, a life partner who would support my ambition and not be threatened by my success, and a commitment to mentorship and to service.
As we take a moment to appreciate where we have been, I think we must state the truth: that persistent racial inequities in myriad institutions in society are the result of systemic racism, and independent schools are not exempt. We charge tuition and can have practices that benefit those with financial resources. I believe we must use our position of privilege to redouble on our efforts to identify and address injustice both inside and outside our community and commit to embracing antiracism as a guiding tenet of our work.
Yesterday morning I hiked to the top of a peak in the Santa Monica mountains. After spending this past week facing a wall in my bedroom office, helplessly following the news while working on wrapping up this school year and scenario planning for next year, I needed to see the horizon and a broader panorama in order to reflect in and synthesize the wide-ranging feelings and thoughts that had collected during this agonizing week. This morning, I am looking at a very different panorama, and I am shaken by the images of rage, pain, and destruction that we all are seeing in our beloved city and cities across the nation.