When we approach a horrific mass murder as an isolated, individual act, we dehumanize the victims and invite more such atrocities. When we accept the perpetrator’s definition of his unforgivable actions as “not a hate crime,” we normalize his behavior and dishonor the truth. If we consider how seldom we, as a culture, talk about racism against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, it’s not surprising that we have become complicit in the gaslighting that has occurred. These community members’ fear in the face of increased harassment and violence deserves to be acknowledged and must be addressed with action.
Like many of you, I woke up yesterday feeling such joy in hearing that Reverend Raphael Warnock became Georgia’s first Black Senator and the first Black Senator from the Deep South. This was in stark contrast to how the day ended, after the violent riots and civil unrest in Washington, DC. These unconscionable acts left me with sadness, disbelief, confusion, and grief during what should have been the next phase in a peaceful transfer of power.
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.