Dismantling Racism: A Moral Imperative

A message from Head of School Laura Danforth to The Masters School community
June 12, 2020

Dear Friends of The Masters School, 
 
As we wrap up an unprecedented end of year and send off our graduates to a very different world, I write to address the importance of standing against the racial injustices and inequalities that plague our country — an effort that is front and center of the ongoing work that we do at The Masters School.
 
In the face of acts of racism both near and far, I urge all of us today to do what we can within our respective circles of influence to be agents of change, hope and anti-racism work. Black Lives Matter is a powerful understatement that offers the minimal – yet unmet – expectation of fairness, safety and equity in a world that so often violates those principles. Black Lives Matter is both a statement of fundamental truth about the human family and a call to bring our actions – structural, collective and individual – into greater alignment with this truth.
 
The racial climate in our country, particularly with the violent deaths of Ahmaud Arbery near Brunswick, Georgia; George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky and too many others, should be deeply disturbing to all of us. The uncle of a beloved Masters graduate is Christian Cooper, the birdwatcher in Central Park who had a frightening and dehumanizing racist experience when a woman called the police and falsely reported that an African American man was threatening her.
 
The work of recognizing, confronting and dismantling racism should be a moral imperative for all of us. I urge all of us in the Masters community to actively educate ourselves and our families on an ongoing basis with regard to the pervasive and toxic presence of racism in our world and to commit to being active proponents of social justice. Without this commitment, none of us can reach our potential as powers for good in the world. At Masters, we are committed to the anti-racist cause through the ongoing education and support of our community, in and out of the classroom, to ensure that we help shape compassionate, caring and kind individuals. 
 
We are a diverse school committed to equity and inclusion in all areas of our institution; this is an essential component of our mission to be powers for good in the world. However, I recognize that, despite our efforts, there is still a lot of work to be done, and this work should be ongoing and proactive, rather than reactive. 
 
Know that these conversations have been and continue to be at the forefront of what we do here at Masters. And we will always strive to do more — to learn, to listen and to act with a just and equitable world always as our goal. 
 
I am including here a link to an article entitled “Don’t Say Nothing,” written by Jamilah Pitts of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s long-standing Teaching Tolerance program. This article provides a pressing call to educate students about the devastating impact of racism in our society. I offer this with a firm conviction that, in the words of educator Paulo Freire, “There is no such thing as neutral education. Education either functions as an instrument to bring about conformity or freedom.”
 
We at The Masters School are in the business of educating to bring about freedom for all of us. Neutrality or inaction about racism undermines our mission to be powers for good in the world. Educating toward social justice can and must be done with the most courageous love that we can muster. Yes, love. For in the words of another wise educator, Cornel West: “Justice is what love looks like in public.”
 
We have a responsibility and obligation to use our might, to be morally courageous, to play our part in bringing about the change that the world needs.
 
With my might,

Laura Danforth
Head of School

The Masters School