Last March, after the early effects of COVID-19 caused us to quarantine at home and reimagine school, we were already wrestling with and being plagued by a centuries-old pandemic, racism. In my 10th Grade Seminar class, now Power, Identity, and Social Change, I informed my students about the rise of xenophobia and sinophobia as a result of racist rhetoric and white supremacist ideologies.
More specifically, in recent months, our country has seen a rise in anti-Asian hate and violence against Asian Americans. The horrific events that transpired in Atlanta, Georgia this past Tuesday at Asian-owned spas resulting in eight deaths, six of whom were Asian women, serves as yet another example of the brutality, trauma, and fear that members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities are experiencing. My heart aches and I am disheartened and disgusted by such a senseless and targeted act of violence.
As an institution that is committed to equity, justice, and engagement, we cannot be silent. We share in the grief and stand in solidarity with our AAPI family within AFS and across the nation. We must continue to shine a light on and unequivocally denounce racism, oppression, bigotry, and hate of any kind. We must remain vigilant and understand, to paraphrase Lila Watson, that our liberation is bound together. We must continue to build bridges of understanding and support across divisions while disrupting and dismantling systemic white supremacy. Indeed, this work is our shared responsibility, we all have a role to play.
It is imperative for us to put our values in action and strengthen our capacity as agents of change with intention and purpose on the path toward creating a more equitable and just society. To that end, faculty and staff recently completed a program called Look Deeper: Race, a digital experience built around the groundbreaking documentary I’m Not Racist… Am I?. And yesterday, during inservice, faculty and staff engaged in dialogue to gain a deeper understanding of race, racism, and the work we all must do as educators and stewards of the Abington Friends School community. We have developed personal, professional, and institutional action plans in the spirit of transparency, clarity, and accountability. We are acutely aware that, as individuals and as an institution, the difference between who we are and who we want to be is what we do. This is how we move from aspirational to actual, from allies to accomplices in the ongoing fight for equity, justice, and liberty for all.
As we embark on spring break, I wish you health, safety, and restoration. And, just as we have set our clocks ahead, it is my prayer that future days will be filled with more light than darkness.
In Love and Hope,