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Parents, Alums, Grandparents, Faculty, Staff, Supporters, Partnering Organizations, etc: If you would like to stand in solidarity with us, show your support by adding your name to this letter HERE.

May 15, 2021

To: Independent/Private School Heads of Schools, Independent/Private School Boards of Trustees

As we approach and pass the one-year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, we want to honor him and all that ensued following that horrific 9 minutes and 29 seconds, particularly in our schools. On Tuesday, May 25, we invite you to silently hold space for those who have felt voiceless, disempowered, or harmed at any point – intentionally or unintentionally – because of race. If this letter reaches you after that date, we hope you will similarly pause for a moment of reflection.

We also write today in response to concerned parents who do not understand the generational experiences of under-represented groups and the need to create safer, more equitable learning institutions for all students. We hope the testimonies of countless current and former students on social media will re-center the narrative and that, in time, ongoing education will break down polarizing perspectives and decades of fear and hate.

In the interim, we applaud your resolve and ability to stay the course despite the many recent attempts to misrepresent intentions or distract from making progress. Many families continue to apply to and navigate our schools based on the promise of school missions and understand that all children will be valued, nurtured, safe, and respected. We stand in solidarity with you as you work towards delivering on that ideal and we affirm the need to press forward expeditiously and with confidence. Our children are depending on us.

This first-of-its-kind reckoning in our schools will continue to be difficult at times – the struggle for racial equity and justice has never been without pain. However, the moral values of our respective institutions are made stronger because of the difficult layers involved in addressing systemic and institutionalized racism.

Similarly, as you know more than anyone, a growing body of research proves that when you have racial diversity in a school community, it yields stronger academic outcomes for all students, not just students of color. Addressing issues of racial diversity is not just the morally right thing to do; it is beneficial for everyone and impacts a school’s ability to successfully deliver true academic excellence. 

We sign below, in solidarity, to affirm the need to continue this important work now more than ever – some in our school communities may not understand it entirely, the summer break may slow our momentum, and who knows how COVID-19 will impact our individual and collective attention. Nevertheless, we cannot let anything stall reasonable progress and this next year and the years to come will require our steadfast devotion.

Thank you for your leadership and commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice for all.

 

Sincerely, 

1. Private School Village (SO)

2. Dr. Michelle A. Purdy, Associate Professor of Education, Washington University of St. Louis (SI and AL, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School)

3. Dr. Bettina Love, University of Georgia Athletic Association Professor, Co-Founder of Abolitionist Teaching Network (SI)

4. Teaching While White (SO)

5. Shelly Tochluk, Witnessing Whiteness (SI)

6. Trina Gary, Independent Trust (SO)

7. David Johns (SI)

8. RIISE — Resources in Independent School Education (SO)

9. The Campus Culture Group (SO)

10. Dr. Jamila Lyiscott, Assistant Professor of Social Justice Education, UMass Amherst Center of Racial Justice and Youth Engaged Research (SI)

11. Jill Morehouse Lum, The Westminster Schools, Atlanta, Ga (P, AL ‘85)

12. Lisa & Andre Johnson, Campbell Hall (P)

13. Sarah Huss, Campbell Hall (P, AD, F)

14. Dawn Limerick, The Greenwood Standard (SO), Notre Dame & Marlborough (P)

15. Casper Caldarola, Pollyanna Inc. (SO)

16. Deepa & Myorr Janha, International School of Los Angeles-Lycee International (P)

17. Collette Bowers Zinn, Private School Axis, Zinn Education Management (SO)

18. Maisha & Michael Chappell, Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences (P)

19. Melanie A. Winns, New Roads (P), Brentwood School (AD)

20. Angela Arnold Brownlee, Marlborough School (P)

21. Ansley Newsom Kreitler, St. Anne’s Episcopal, Denver, CO (P), The Westminster Schools, Atlanta, GA (AL ‘91)

22. Nikea & Damani Johnson, Westside Neighborhood School (P, S)

23. Darlene Fountaine, Your Go-To Coaches (SO)

24. Huey Merchant, Brentwood School (P)

25. Jasmine & Andre White, Westridge School (P)

26. Alycia Brown, Chandler School (P, AD)

27. Lovie Manning, Parenting While Black (SO)

28. Inga Dyer, Esq., Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences (P), Berkeley Hall (AL ’15), UCLA Lab School (AL ‘19), Pilgrim School (AL ‘88)

29. Danisha & Kamal Abdul-Jabbaar, Hollywood Schoolhouse (P), New Roads School (P)

30. SoCal POCIS Board of Directors (SO)

31. Heather & Guy Primus, Park Century School (P), Immaculate Heart Middle & High School (AL ‘86), UCLA Lab School (AL’ 80)

32. Iman Alleyne, Kind Academy (SO)

33. Matthew Winstone & Dr. Mark Agulnik, LILA Pasadena (P)

34. Julie Light-Orr, Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences (P)

35. Kara Sax, Oakwood (Incoming P)

36. Alison & Chris Lindgren, Viewpoint School (P)

37. William R. Bryan, Mirman (P), Oakwood School (P)

38. Rochelle Carey, Mayfield Senior School (P)

39. Sandra Tamkin, Park Century School (P)

40. Leslee Livingston, The Buckley School (P)

41. Lilly Pino, The Country School (P, AD)

42. Kent Cardona, Hollywood Schoolhouse (P)

43. Renee Noel, Grace Church School, NYC (P)

44. Larry Sullivan, The Wesley School (P)

45. Michael Ashburn, Pilgrim School (P)

46. Lynn Renfroe, Campbell Hall (P)

47. Amy Barnett, Notre Dame High School (P)

48. Landry Tagliere, Campbell Hall (P, F)

49. Louise Boraine, Turning Point (P)

50. Sarah Ramsey-Duke, Chadwick School (P)

51. Jhinezka & Derrick Dancer, Chandler School (P)

52. Jennifer Lanski, The Wesley School (P), The Buckley School (Incoming P)

53. Kathleen Lawton-Trask, Campbell Hall (AD, T), The Wesley School (P), Sidwell Friends School (AL ‘92)

54. Cori & Landon Morris, Windward (P), Westside Neighborhood School (P)

55. Patrick O’Neal (P)

56. Amber Ojuri, PS-1 Pluralistic (P)

57. Felicia Price, Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences (P)

58. Jameelah Carver (P)

59. Megan Zakarian-Adell, Campbell Hall (P, AD, F)

60. @TeachingWhileBlackPWI (SO)

61. Jaszmin Gray, Westside Neighborhood School (P)

62. Ashley & Nick Luengo (SI)

63. Kelli Kirkland, Viewpoint School (P, T)

64. Phebie Zaky, Sierra Canyon (incoming P)

65. Anthony & Sidra Fullerton, Harvard-Westlake (P)

66. Brigette Romanek, Oakwood School (P)

67. Teraesa Vinson, Le Lycee Francais de Los Angeles (P)

68. Rachel Bonkovsky, The Center for Early Education (P)

Note: Parents, Alums, Grandparents, Faculty, Staff, Supporters, Partnering Organizations, etc: If you would like to stand in solidarity with us, show your support by adding your name to this letter HERE.

Relation Key (P = Parent; S = Student; F = Faculty; AD = Administration; T = Teacher; S = Staff; AL = Alumni+Year; GP = Grandparent; SO = Supporting Organization; SI = Supporting Individual)