Dear Windward Community,
In my attempt to process the events of the last several days, I find myself with a heavy heart and at a complete loss for words. We have been navigating an extended global and national health crisis that has impacted every layer of our lives for the last three months. While the curve has flattened in many places, we have suffered the devastating loss of over 100,000 loved ones across our country. Of those communities most impacted by COVID-19, people of color have suffered disproportionately. As I continue to read more about the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the white woman in Central Park caught on video leveraging racial fears, the brutal murder of Ahmaud Arbery in Atlanta, and the police shooting of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, I can’t help but see these incidents as connected and reflective of systemic failure in our country. We have been in an extended moral and ethical crisis around race relations since our country’s beginning. The current protests are a genuine response to the bias, dehumanization, and racism that people of color have experienced. We can’t begin to solve a problem without first identifying and naming it.
At Windward, we are committed to supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion. We believe that an intentionally diverse and inclusive setting is critical to educating children with language-based learning disabilities. This commitment is grounded in the idea that we must treat all people with decency and respect, and we should value diversity in all its forms. We have been actively developing a three-year plan to help us clarify the priorities ahead and partner with a consultant to help us link this work across our community—from the Board of Trustees to our students and all community members in between.
We understand that people in our community are feeling angry, scared, hurt, and confused because their voices aren’t being heard. As always, Windward seeks to foster a community of belonging, comfort, and respect for all of its members. It is our responsibility to make sure that everyone feels safe, cared for, and heard, especially at a time that brings the inequities in our nation further into the light. I would offer this time to come together, as allies, in the pursuit of a better society. It is paramount that we all do what we can to support individuals in our community that are feeling hurt and depleted.
During a tragedy like this, I think it is essential to reflect on our core values, both personally and as a community. Over this school year, we have worked on naming and defining Windward’s core values, and I feel compelled to highlight two of those values: Growth and Community. We recognize that we are all on our journey and that we have so much to learn, especially around diversity, but we want to reassure everyone in our community that we are committed to our continued growth. We are dedicated to maintaining a sense of community for all people and those in particular who have struggled historically to be wholly accepted into and protected by society.
We recognize that while our students may not always have the language or vocabulary to express what they are feeling, we are prepared to answer student questions should they arise. We encourage you to use the resources below to guide conversations with your children. As a parent, I think these conversations are valuable opportunities to strengthen relationships with our children.
- "Talking to Kids about Racial Violence," from The New York Times
- “George Floyd. Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. What do we tell our children?” from USA Today
- "Talking Race with Young Children," a podcast from NPR
- “White parents: Here’s how to (and how not to) talk to your kids about racism,” from Today’s Parent
- “A guide to how you can support marginalized communities,” from CNN.com
As we move into the final weeks of the school year, I hope that we can all seek to be open and helpful to each other during these challenges. In a time of such intense isolation, human connection is more important than ever. Please reach out to other members of our community to check in and support each other. And as always, if you have any questions, reach out to us.
Head of School