Dear Parents,

It has been quite a year for all of us as we’ve done our very best to keep teaching and learning moving forward, while protecting our children and families from the international pandemic that surrounds us. But now we find ourselves in the midst of a National challenge. The happenings after the terrible death of George Floyd in Minnesota have been overwhelming for anyone who turns on a television set to view the news or stops to reflect on what all of this means to each of us and to our country. I think most of us are feeling disheartened as we watch those who want to peacefully protest and support the values of our country, that all human beings must be treated fairly and respectfully regardless of race, religion or national origin, being attacked and often losing their right of free speech. These protests can be very powerful and remind us of the extraordinary work of Martin Luther King as he taught us how to protest nonviolently. Sadly, however, we see violence and people who are using this time to hurt others who are peacefully protesting; destroy and loot stores that are trying so hard to reopen; throwing molotov cocktails to burn vehicles and buildings; and attacking police who are mostly doing their best to protect the protestors.

It is times like these that make me feel the heavy responsibility of leading a school and helping children to grow and learn. In many schools, academics are the priority, and though I support this, I believe that education to help students become stronger socially and emotionally is of equal importance and a top priority. At Villa Maria, these are balanced … growing academically, socially and emotionally. I believe that the greatest hope and promise for mankind is educating our young people to care deeply about their fellow human beings regardless of race, religion or national origin, and to see themselves as being responsible for actively using their hearts and minds to make the world a better place for everyone, starting with those in their families and school worlds. The respectful way our students try to reach this goal touches our hearts as they try to make sense of the world around them.

We hope in the days ahead, that you take time to talk with your children and answer their questions and concerns about what they are seeing and hearing. We will do the same. It is without question, a teachable moment. Though there are many books (some great children’s books about Martin Luther King that you may want to order) and articles to help you do that, the best advice is to speak to them from the heart and not be afraid to share that these are troubling times for you too. As I listened to one of my grandchildren this weekend, as she asked me about all that was happening, I shared that my heart was hurting, but I was hopeful that we would find solutions to the problems that had made this happen.

I won’t deluge you with long lists of resources, as I know that these are available in so many places but will suggest just a few.

 

Resources for parents to raise anti-racist children:

 

Articles to read:

 
Let us hope that all that is happening now will lead to a better America, a country that lives by the ideals it was founded upon, a world in which we can be proud and confident to have our children and grandchildren grow up.
 
Warmly,
Marjorie