Dear Gordon Families, Faculty and Staff:
The story of the death of George Floyd's has been a part of our collective consciousness for a year now. From the moment the devastating recording of his murder aired all over the world to the announcement of the verdict of the Derek Chauvin trial today, we have been riding a wave of news cycles that have been exhausting, frightening, enraging, and, yes, traumatizing.
This story has played out in different ways in different corners of our school. In eighth grade humanities, the trial comes up in discussion every day. In our youngest grades, many students may not even know George Floyd's name. In between, there are students who may be aware of what is happening in Minnesota this week. Others may just know that the adults in their life have been sad, angry or worried.
Today, a new chapter in this story was written. What happens next?
Tomorrow at Gordon, the day will start the same way it always does. Students will begin their day by sharing what's on their minds, in discussion with one another and with a trusted adult. Our teachers will be ready to help children process whatever they are thinking, in age appropriate ways, allowing the students to guide the conversation the way it needs to go.
Assistant Head of School Lynn Bowman is also working with faculty tonight to prepare additional spaces for students tomorrow, including small group conversations in Middle School that draw on the connections students have made in Common Ground, Gordon's group for students of color, and Let's Talk About Whiteness, the group for white students.
As we create spaces for Gordon's students, our faculty and staff are also ready to create spaces for one another: to process, to connect, and to support one another. For better or worse, this professional community has had intense practice in caring for one another over the past year. That will continue tomorrow.
While we awaited today's verdict, we knew that no decision could heal the wounds that our country has endured, and that no outcome, however cathartic, could speed the real work that needs to happen if we are going to have lasting change.
And we recognize that people of color, Black people in particular, may be experiencing this moment in very different ways than the white members of our community. There is no celebration—just a sigh of relief, a welcome moment to take a breath.
So, then, we are left simply with a historical milestone. One chapter has ended, and another one has begun. The stories of Adam Toledo, Daunte Wright, Ahmaud Arbery, and dozens of other victims of police violence are still playing out.
The verdict today was not a foregone conclusion for many Black people. Neither are the ones that will follow. I fear what that lack of trust, that belief that our justice system functions for some but not all, means for our young people. The work of dismantling racism is also the work of restoring hope.
Today is a good day. Tomorrow the work must continue.
As these stories play out, we will be at Gordon, listening to children, helping them understand right from wrong, supporting them as they find their own voices and learn how to use them, and encouraging them as they become the next generation of leaders this world will need.
Thank you, as always, for your partnership.