We write to address the recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and the sickening history of violence against Black Americans. This is particularly painful because it comes in the midst of a pandemic that is already disproportionately affecting Black, Indigenous and Latinx communities. We know members of our community who identify as Black are especially hurting. We want you to know that we are with you and that you matter. We stand with all those who are raising their voices and working to address the systemic racism that continues to plague our nation and our local community. We call for accountability for the people who committed these acts. We stand with all the parents who worry for the safety of their black and brown children. Being a crew means that our outcomes are intrinsically linked. We must work to ensure that our school and community are places of justice and safety that celebrate the identity of all of our crewmates. We also must especially stand up when our larger systems say that the lives of our Black community members are less valued.
In these final days of the school year we look forward to celebrating your amazing, brilliant children. We affirm the good in the world when we acknowledge the beauty and intrinsic worth of our young people. It’s especially important during this challenging time that we let our scholars know how much they matter as people and as the future leaders they will become.
We have provided our teachers with resources on how they can discuss these issues with their crew in ways that are responsive and age-appropriate. Teachers will leverage their strong relationships with scholars to ensure they are getting the support they need during this challenging time.
Our support for all of you and your children does not end with the school year. Please do not hesitate to reach out to your scholar’s teacher or to any of us if you’d like help finding ways to talk about the reality of systemic racism or the recent killings of black and brown people being discussed on the national stage. Our school counselor and support staff are available to talk with any scholar who needs a helpful listener. We will also post helpful resources for families to talk to their children on our website and social media.
For those of you who would like to be involved in the effort of the larger New Bedford community to address systemic racism, please consider attending one of the upcoming virtual dialogues being hosted by the YWCA, led by Alma Trustee Gail Fortes. We will post more information about these events as it becomes available.
Alma’s mission is to cultivate service-minded leaders who think boldly while addressing complex academic and community issues. Now as ever, the world needs thoughtful, engaged citizens like our families are and scholars are becoming. Thank you for your continued partnership in this vital work. May you be safe and healthy and may we all continue to work together toward creating a more just society.
Sarah Ottiwell Campus
Frederick Douglass Campus
Download printable PDF of the letter in both English and Spanish here.