On May 31, because we could not gather in person, I sent an email to students and families expressing my outrage and sadness following the murder of George Floyd and the racist actions of a woman in Central Park. The email also included links to articles and resources for them to explore during their remote experience away from campus. My note was subsequently posted on the Greenhills Facebook page for the wider community, particularly our alumni.
Our community, led by our alumni, has responded in thoughtful, passionate, and impressive ways. Whether by writing directly to me, responding on social media, or composing a thorough letter circulated and signed by others, the responses and call for action have been gratifying and emblematic of the kinds of students and families I am proud to represent as Head of School.
There was appropriate criticism that my email neither outlined a specific commitment to actual plans that we must incorporate into all of our institutional practices, nor underscored the work we have already undertaken within our school. It was a missed opportunity on my part.
The expectations that members of our community have laid out for their school — our school — are precise and consistent with both our mission and commitment to anti-racism and eliminating the systemic prejudices in many facets of our operations. While we have done some work to address these expectations over our recent history, we recognize that there is more to do. We also know that some perceptions of Greenhills today are fairly informed by past experiences; we need to do better with sharing our plans and progress to allow our community to effectively hold us accountable in this important work. Ultimately, I am proud of and heartened by these expectations; and, rather than responding with "Yes, but...", I will say, "Yes, and join us in being better." Your voices are essential.
A number of you have reached out to me directly to share your observations and personal experiences of racism, explicit and implicit, and I invite you to continue to do so. Please look forward to further communication, which will include opportunities for dialogue with both me and members of our staff.
We commit to sharing our action plan on a webpage dedicated to our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work by September 8, when we reopen school for the 2020-2021 academic year. There, we will outline our recent initiatives around recruitment, training, and programming as well as layout new efforts and commitments.