Black Lives Matter Statement from Head of School

June 10, 2020

Dear FCM community,

Since the brutal murder of George Floyd, I have found myself at a loss for words. Yet, I must speak up—not only as Head of School, but also as an American and especially as someone who is White. I write to you today to recognize the pain in our community, to emphasize that FCM deeply values Black people including Black members of our community, and to reaffirm FCM’s commitment to dismantling racism.

Like so many of you, I was heartbroken and outraged by the unspeakable violence that killed George Floyd. His life was taken callously by police officers, the very people responsible for keeping all of us safe. As horrific as his death was, it was also sadly unsurprising. His murder came on the heels of other racist killings—of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and countless other Black Americans. These incidents stem from centuries of systemic discrimination, and they have inflicted pain on Black people during a pandemic that has disproportionately hurt communities of color.

Black people across our country, including within our community at FCM, are feeling distrust, fear, anguish, and profound sadness. To all the Black teachers, staff, parents, and children in our community—please know that I stand with you and I grieve with you, both personally and on behalf of FCM. You are deeply valued members of the FCM family. If you ever want to talk about your thoughts, feelings, or wishes concerning the murder of George Floyd and racial injustice, please know that I am ready to listen, learn, and support you.

FCM is a school that is committed to dismantling racism and teaching our children that Black lives matter. We will redouble our efforts to ensure that this commitment is brought to life. Here are some of the ways in which FCM is working toward this goal:

Over the past year, FCM teachers consciously wove anti-racism and anti-bias themes into their curriculum. In response to George Floyd’s death, teachers focused additional class time last week on issues of racial diversity and racial justice, including age-appropriate discussions of current events in upper-level classes.

FCM’s Equity Committee is curating a list of resources that they will soon share with you. This list will include resources to help parents speak with children about race and current events. It will also include resources to help parents become more knowledgeable about ways to combat racism. In addition to including resources aimed at general audiences, the list will contain separate resources specifically tailored to Black parents, White parents, and non-Black parents of color.

The Equity Committee is engaged in long-term planning to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). The first step in this process is the development of a DEI Mission Statement for FCM, which the Committee has already drafted and will be presented to the Board of Trustees for consideration. Using the DEI Mission Statement as a guide, the Equity Committee will develop a more detailed long-term vision and plan of action. You can expect to hear more about this work in the weeks and months ahead.

In this time of sadness, I take some comfort in the strength of our community. Since joining  FCM, I have been heartened that so many people at the school have expressed to me their conviction that diversity, equity, and inclusion are essential. Let us support each other as we work to implement these principles at FCM and in the world around us. Recognizing my racial privilege as a White person, let me add that it is incumbent upon those of us in positions of privilege to be active participants in these efforts. As always, I welcome your questions, comments, and ideas.

In shared sorrow,

Rebecca McGrail
Head of School