Tuesday afternoon, in anticipation of a verdict in the Derick Chauvin trial for the murder of George Floyd, students, faculty, and staff gathered to provide space for reflection, connection, and discussion. While moments of national and historic impact seem to occur with greater frequency these days than they have at any other time in my many years at Thacher, they remain, I believe, a unique and powerful point of inflection and learning for our community.
As it happened, the verdict arrived only shortly before we came together in the Library Amphitheater. The ability to gather the whole school outside in that venue is still relatively new in this year of covid protocols and limitations, and I found myself deeply grateful simply to be together—to be a physically connected community, experiencing this moment with one another.
It was an open meeting, with Matt Balano, our director of diversity, equity, and inclusion, leading us in a time to share feelings, questions, thoughts, and quiet reflection. Adults and kids alike spoke of their sense of the historical significance of the moment; they spoke of hope and of deep frustration. Are we only willing to do the right thing when everyone is watching? For many, the events of the day and our very gathering brought up questions of Thacher’s work in acknowledging and repairing the impact of racism and inequity within our community. Are we actually listening? Are we taking action? Is anything really changing at Thacher?
Those aren’t comfortable questions, but they are the questions each of us should be asking and answering. We gathered as a community Tuesday because issues of racial justice, of equity, and of inclusion impact all of us. Our community requires each of us to take responsibility for the whole, to understand that all we say and don’t say, all we do and don’t do, all we see and don’t see, create the collective truth of Thacher.
Coming together like we did yesterday doesn’t solve the problems inside or outside our gates, but it does help to make them visible and to connect us in facing them.
I invite you to read
more about what is changing in our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts and to join what I often call the forever work of building and sustaining community for the greatest good.