With the rest of the world, we are watching the tragedy unfolding in Ukraine right now with profound care and concern for the people of that nation who are suffering the devastation of the unjust war that has begun there. We care for the families who are being uprooted, the refugees fleeing the violence, the terrible loss of life and ways of life that needless war brings. We care for the citizens of Ukraine and Russia, suffering the catastrophic leadership decisions in Russia, and for all who will be touched by instability created throughout the world. We care for children all over the world, including our AFS students, who are witnessing the very real consequences of a reliance on violence and military might to assert power and control rather than finding constructive, peaceful pathways to mutuality and coexistence. And we condemn the immoral decision to bring overwhelming force and destruction, unprovoked, to the people of Ukraine.
The Quaker Peace Testimony is rooted in our consciousness of the preciousness and unconditional dignity of all human life. The belief of “that of God” in each person calls us to a fundamental reverence for all people and forms a core commitment to non-violence that becomes for Friends a way of life. It should challenge us always to seek alternative paths to violence, to ignite our imaginations to find solutions that honor life and humanity and to learn from such abundant experience that inhumanity can never be consistent with the world we hope to live in.
Please know that there is support here at school for caregivers and students who may be feeling overwhelmed by these world events. Consulting Psychologist Michael Cassano and School Counselors Kevin Ryan and Ebony Holloway are good resources for perspective and support and we encourage you to be in touch with your child’s classroom teacher or advisor to let them know of any concerns about your child. For caregivers, here is an article with advice about talking to children about the war in Ukraine and reasons to do so at various age levels. And it can be helpful for children to have ways to respond with care and so here is a good resource for ways for your family to be of support to Ukrainian families and those working to provide humanitarian relief.
Join me in holding in the Light all those touched by the war in Ukraine as well as by the many other armed conflicts around the world that are also causing great suffering but are not as well covered in the press. May the peaceful resolve of nations around the world help bring an end to the fighting in Ukraine and create a path forward to peace. May the Peace Testimony inspire us to be ever hopeful and work toward the peace that all human beings deserve.