Talk is not cheap

While observing stay-at-home orders, like billions of other people around the world with nowhere to go, I certainly find myself sitting and talking more than ever. And, talking about more substantive matters regarding issues affecting our school, the local community and countries the world over. There are serious issues facing us these days and I think the reality is that the immediate existential threats of pandemics, population growth and the negative impacts of climate change on our planet, have forced these conversations – and many other important issues – into mainstream media, Zoom calls, our collective consciousness and found a seat around the dinner table.

Growing up, my memory is that, as a family, we didn’t talk that much about certain things. My parents are British and “kept a stiff upper lip” during times of adversity, and remained quite reserved or restrained regarding sensitive topics. As if to prove that point, in my house when I was growing up, we never spoke about “the birds and the bees,” cigarettes, drugs and alcohol. A lot of things, I guess, were just assumed to be “off limits.”

I also don’t remember a conversation about race or diversity within the context of our daily lives or the lives of others around us. Again, I think it was just expected that being kind, fair, diligent, open-minded, friendly and thoughtful were “what we stood for” as a family. My parents were great role models and, instinctively, I knew what the boundaries were and the difference between right and wrong. But, learning by osmosis might be a better description of how, as a family, we dealt with challenging topics; we didn’t sit down and have difficult or uncomfortable conversations per se.

In particular, as a young person, I certainly do not remember, whether at home or at school, a conversation discussing the important difference between being a passive, good person versus being a more proactive anti-racist human. Thankfully, today, the world is having this conversation and here, at TCS, we are fully engaged.

It is my hope and expectation that we do not shy away from difficult conversations at Trinity College School. And, to be frank, I thank my daughter for consistently raising social justice issues at virtually every dinner conversation we have as a family. Racism is one of those topics.

At the School, over the past year, since the death of George Floyd, the TCS Task Force to End Anti-Black Racism has met five times, in addition to many more sub-committee meetings. There has been tremendous, insightful and informative conversations with the more than 60 members of the task force, which has included representatives from faculty, staff, parents, administration, governance, alumni and, most importantly, TCS students. Our community has embraced a renewed resolve to not only talk, but also to act. Stay tuned for an upcoming update regarding progress made to date and our commitments going forward.

Please, I encourage you to embrace this opportunity to have direct conversations about race and racism at home, too.

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