These past few months – and especially the last few weeks -- have been some of the most difficult I have ever witnessed in our country. Many in our own community, in the Dallas area, and around the nation are hurting deeply. The global COVID-19 pandemic, which is impacting us all, continues to inflict additional pain on those from Asian American/Asian Pacific Islander backgrounds, as well as those who lack adequate resources for quality healthcare, food, housing, and more. And now, the harsh realities of individual and systemic racism, bias, and hate laid bare by the Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Amy Cooper incidents and their aftermath have caused feelings of fear, anger, and despair, especially among our African-American and other marginalized communities.
This unrest stands in stark contrast to what was supposed to be a week of joyous celebration. Today, June 1, the members of our Class of 2020 were poised to attend their commencement ceremony. While this event has been rescheduled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the absence of this community celebration made it doubly hard for me to wake up today to a nation in turmoil. We had also intended to release our newest strategic plan this week. While its distribution has also been delayed, it seems fitting to share that among the key pillars of our proposed plan are a deeper engagement with diversity, equity, and inclusion and a renewed focus on building community. These commitments are more important now than ever before.
These recent national events have intensified my focus on our school’s mission and longstanding commitment to building an equitable and inclusive community. I am reaching out to you today to ask you to join me in continuing that work in your own families and communities. We must find the strength and courage to engage in meaningful conversations about race and racism with our children, partners, families, and friends. I acknowledge how challenging these conversations can be. To this end, I am sharing these resources
that are intended to support you in having these conversations.
At our Community Conversations event in January, Rosetta Lee reminded us that the concept of a “post-racial society” is still an aspirational goal. While it is clear after the events of this past week that we have a long road ahead, Rosetta reminded us that to reach that goal, we must educate and equip ourselves – and our children – with the knowledge and skills needed in order to be productive, effective members of society.
I have always felt that the strength of the Greenhill community is the love and support we offer each other. It is this strength that sustains me and gives me hope for the future.
Lee J. Hark
Head of School