Dear Gilmour Family,
The events occurring in the world make the words of artist, poet and author Cleo Wade profoundly resonate. She stated, “There are times when we must speak, not because we’re going to change the other person, but because if we don’t speak, they’ve changed us. Silence doesn’t change the world. It changes us. It shrinks us. It takes our stories and feelings away from us and buries them alive.” Rooted in our Holy Cross tradition that charges us to educate the mind and heart, cross borders of every sort, and ensure that our students are not “ignorant of anything they should know,” we must have the competence to see and the courage to speak up peacefully in this moment.
Our faith reminds us that as disciples of Jesus, we stand side by side with all people. These past few months have been a particularly trying time in our world. In addition to the stresses associated with sickness and, in some instances, death, as a result of the pandemic, and the isolation and economic uncertainty felt by so many, we have also seen racism surface against the Asian community in the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic. Now, we are continuing to witness the racial injustices endured by Ahmaud Arbrey, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and many other Black and African American men and women. The past few days, the tensions in our country have manifested in profound ways.
Throughout the 2019-2020 school year, we committed our efforts to living our Holy Cross charism of “Inclusiveness.” The Holy Cross Constitutions remind us that "Our mission sends us across borders of every sort. Often we must make ourselves at home among more than one people or culture, reminding us again that the farther we go in giving, the more we stand to receive." Embracing this charism makes each of us better. Yet, inclusiveness can only exist authentically, where there is intentionality. Inclusiveness calls us to humbly listen to others and stand alongside the marginalized, who are burdened with societal injustices of all kinds. It tasks us with listening to the opinions of all, learning new perspectives and potentially “unlearning” some ideas that have kept us from understanding those other perspectives. We must continue to educate ourselves as well as our students about all that is happening in our world so that, together, we can bring about change.
We are people of hope. We stand against the discrimnation of all people, but in this time, we outwardly, respectfully and proudly stand against the senseless unprovoked violence and racism against our communities of color. We will continue to raise the awareness and sensitivity of our non-black communities in these times. We commit to providing our support, voice and resources to aid those who have been denied the inalienable right to justice and fair treatment.
The Constitutions of Holy Cross remind us, “There is no failure the Lord’s love cannot reverse, no humiliation He cannot exchange for blessing, no anger He cannot dissolve, no routine He cannot transfigure.” Embracing our call to create a more humane and just society, we stand against the discrimination of all people. Aware that the oppression of one is the oppression of all, we stand with, we mourn with, we pray for, and we embrace those in the Gilmour family and beyond who are directly and indirectly affected by the tragedies we are witnessing as a nation. We must use our voices, our privilege and our faith to be agents of change.
To our communities of color at Gilmour Academy, we see you, we value you, we acknowledge your hurt and pain, and we vow to be better for you. You are not alone in this battle.
Our Gilmour Mission calls us to develop the competence to see and the courage to act in creating a more humane and just society. Let us use these words as our guiding principle. Whether you are a student, alumnus, current parent, parent of an alumnus, faculty, staff, administrator or board member, we encourage you to continue to develop that competence to see and to be steadfast in your courage to act against the injustices of the world. It is up to each of us to live as women and men with hope to bring.
May God bless you and all you love,
Kathy Kenny, Head of School
Evan Richard, Director of Diversity and Inclusion
Whitney Daly, Director of Mission Integration