By Christopher D. Day P’12,’13, Head of School
Our community has been deeply shaken by the murder of George Floyd, and by the responses that are still unfolding across our nation. While all of us work to mitigate the frightening impacts of both health and economic crises on our families, we now also bear witness to the social unrest that results from systemic and institutional racism.
I am keenly aware that our students are also absorbing and feeling the impact of these events.
While words matter, this is a time when all of us—those who are oppressed, and those who are allies of the oppressed—are called to transform good intent into action. I hear that call. Cardigan may be a place of excellence, but our aspiration for ourselves and for our boys is to be better.
We have some existing frameworks to use in these efforts:
- We will continue to ask students to explore diversity, develop an understanding of complex problems, and challenge their perspectives. They do this within our on-campus community through classwork as well as during personal, focused discussion during advisory group meetings. Our boys also engage with other communities at events like the AISNE Middle School Students of Color Conference.
- Our teaching must be relevant and responsive to the world our boys live in. Last January we identified DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) as the focus for faculty professional development in 2020-21; the need for that ongoing work has only been validated by recent events.
- Institutionally, issues of equity will be a critical factor in Cardigan’s strategic planning efforts.
I want to assure you that we are continually evaluating these student, faculty, and administrative programs, and also seeking opportunities to take this work further. We are committed to sustaining and expanding these efforts in the long-term.
In the short term, members of our community have begun to share resources for self-learning. We invite you to visit www.cardigan.org/equity to access that list, or to suggest additional resources.
At Cardigan, we teach our boys that some growth will feel uncomfortable. I believe that we do students a disservice if we shield them entirely from the tensions that they will have to navigate when they leave our School. We have to give all of our children the tools and language to discuss race—with care, and with love—if they are to build future communities of stability and hope. Many adults are also uncomfortable on the topic of race, but I know that we have the capacity to move through that discomfort and learn how to do better, both for ourselves and for our boys.
I’ll end by noting that our Cardigan students and alumni consider themselves to be brothers. While brothers don’t always agree, true brothers try to see each other clearly. We must try to do the work to see and hear each other clearly. It is a way to show our love for each other.
Christopher D. Day P’12,’13
Head of School