Friends Academy Diversity Statement

June 1, 2020

Dear FA Families,

Friends Academy Diversity StatementLooking to the final week of the school year, the joy typically associated with this milestone is tempered by all that our community, country, and world have seen and experienced over the last few months. As a country with a problematic past and present with regard to race and racism, we grieve and bear witness to – among many – the tragic killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. We are humbled by the tremendous sacrifice of our health care workers. We also lament the profound loss of life and suffering caused by the global pandemic. This is the context in which we live, and this is the context in which we raise our children. It is only natural to feel the weight of all of this in our lives.

This weight is best born not as individuals, but as a community – a community that remembers that despite human frailty, humanity is filled with goodness. Moreover, our power comes from those moments when we band together in support of what Abraham Lincoln famously called the “better angels of our nature.” This abiding faith in community and human goodness, however, does not blind us to the magnitude of suffering experienced by our fellow human beings or the enormity of our task. In fact, it provides clarity for our shared vision.

Culture, ingrained attitudes, and institutionalized prejudice are not easily affected. Every bit of progress in our great country’s history has emanated from commitment, sacrifice, hard work, optimism, and cooperation. Therefore, we must commit to one another and to the difficult work in front of us. We must commit so that our children inhabit a future in which the sanctity of every person is honored and all lives have equal worth and truly matter. This is the work that our children must see us embracing, and this is the work that will make us a stronger school, a stronger nation, and a stronger world.

All of us deserve to be safe, seen, respected, and included. Despite our best intentions, the last few months have once again demonstrated the work still to be done. From care for the elderly and most vulnerable members of our world to safeguarding the essential workers who sustain our health and economy to confronting a legacy of injustice and inequality for people of color, there is much to be done.

It is in such times that the efforts of the Diversity Committee and their leadership in the creation of a Diversity Statement for Friends Academy are so important. Through this statement, we affirm the fundamental value and rights of every individual, and we express our shared responsibility to use our “voices and actions to support each other.” Despite being physically separated from one another and despite this being the final week of school, I invite all families, classrooms, and advisories – in developmentally appropriate ways – to revisit the Friends Academy Diversity Statement. We may not have the answers for the pain, anger, and inequalities in our world, but we all share the same commitment to building a more just, equitable and peaceful world for our children.

As individuals who bear our own struggles and for whom little of the last few months has been easy, let’s stand together for, and focus our actions on, something larger than ourselves. Let’s stand together as people and as families who understand that our commitment to one another and our collective strength will see us through. Let’s stand together in support of those whose humanity has historically not been seen, valued, or protected. Let’s stand together as a part of a caring and compassionate community concerned with providing a hopeful and hope-filled future for our children.

Ben Kennedy
Head of School

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