Dear St. Paul’s Families,
My own reading of the past few weeks about the history of origins of Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month, helped provide visibility for me of historically marginalized communities that are not centered in the white supremacist structure of American society.
As for any ally, my responsibility is to do my own work and education around the Hispanic/Latinx experience. I need to remain curious, ask questions, and acknowledge my own blindspots. In our employee DEI meeting last week, some of us examined the implications of nomenclature - Hispanic vs. Latino/Latinx. Teachers are sharing resources with one another and lifting up and highlighting contributions and stories from Latinx community members, throughout history and today. This year, we are excited to add the Latinx Student Union affinity group to the Middle School. Our students are learning about the diversity of experiences and cultural and racial identities of the Latinx community.
Nationally, the landscape has shifted dramatically and changed our relationships with one another. We endured a presidency that divided us, destroyed the bridges between communities, and challenged optimism for the future. That legacy persists even in the face of a global pandemic that should have united us. Instead, we are more polarized and skeptical than ever, and the potential seeds of distrust have taken root. So, how do we combat it? How do we reset and create new paths toward trust and empathy? As we look ahead, we will explore affinity groups for parents, continue our DEI Parent meetings, and offer parent-ed events that center on this work.
We have one of the most culturally and racially diverse communities at St. Paul’s, and still, it is clear to me that our different groups may feel overlooked or even marginalized at times. Our resilient community may have been frayed by the divisive politics and harm that has occured in the last few years, but we are not broken. So as adults, we need to start with seeing each other once again, learning each other’s stories, understanding where our pain points are, where our trauma may be, and how, ultimately, we can support one another, hold space and lift each other up. This is where the power and spirit of St. Paul’s resides.
The same holds true for our students. The job of the school is to center on our students, and to encourage them to develop agency as critical thinkers and compassionate community members. How are they showing up every day? How has 20 months of the pandemic shaped their sense of self and their relationships? How do we, as the adults in their lives, differentiate between our own trauma and the reality of what our children need to heal, process, and move forward? In the past few weeks, we’ve seen our students “colliding” with one another literally and figuratively. Months in smaller social pods and/or cohorts, behind screens, etc., have impacted our children (and adults) in how we coexist and socialize now in larger groups. We are having to relearn ways to be together and revisit how we work through complexity and tension.
At St. Paul’s, we aspire to be an antiracist institution and community, AND we exist in a society that is built on the fabric of white supremacy. And so, we continue to work on ourselves and our community -- approach everyone with compassion and patience. Take the time to learn each other’s stories - I invite you to share yours with me.
Have a great evening and be well.
Continued Reading:Unmaking “Hispanic”: Teaching the Creation of Hispanic Identity