Dear Forest Ridge Community,
I am writing to you with an overwhelming feeling of both sorrow and anger as I try to process the horrific manifestations of racism plaguing our country. Most recently, but certainly not exclusively, the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery highlight the deeply ingrained racism and systems of oppression that still pervade our country today. Amidst the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic that has further exposed the disparities in both our health care and education systems, it has become easy to feel overwhelmed with despair at the condition of our fragile world and the sinful, racist treatment of black Americans. No one feels this pain and trauma more than the black community.
As a school, our Sacred Heart mission calls us to a social awareness which impels to action. With the belief that all human beings share a common origin in God, and are thus equal, Forest Ridge is committed to building an equitable community where all people are known, valued and cared for. To this end, we must continue to analyze and assess how racism and institutional inequalities influence our educational systems. Forest Ridge must include intentional integration of equity work into the entire school program. It is imperative that we continue to engage in dialogues that challenge systemic racism and lean into conversations as a community that identify institutional and personal biases. Further, we must provide opportunities for our students, faculty, staff and families to continue to learn and understand the root causes of racism as they develop the intellectual and emotional capacity to confront injustice.
We know that many of our students may need extra support as they continue to process their feelings during this tumultuous time. Over the course of the week, Forest Ridge will provide students with optional opportunities to meet with adults who are ready to listen and support their needs. In advisory, students will be offered a safe space to share their feelings, ask questions and engage in dialogue about the state of our country. In addition, support will be offered to our students throughout the summer as needed.
This work is not easy. It takes vulnerability, courage and a willingness to listen, hear and change. Together, with you as our partners, I know that we can grow as a community who actively works together in the pursuit of an anti-racist and more just world. In the spirit of this collaboration, I will compile and share a list of resources that may help us move this work forward. Until then, be well and stay safe.
Mary Rose Guerin
Head of School