June 12, 2020
Dear Ashbury Community,
I am writing to you today with an important update on what we are doing to strengthen our commitment to anti-racism at Ashbury. As events unfold around the world bringing focus to the inequities and anti-Black racism that continue to exist, it is important to emphasize Ashbury’s commitment to fostering inclusivity, embracing pluralism and condemning all forms of racism and discrimination.
Last week we convened an online forum for students to discuss the underlying issues surrounding recent global events. Special guest speaker Rev. Dr. Anthony Bailey, a community leader in advocacy and social justice, spoke about racism, in particular anti-Black racism, and how we can create a more inclusive society together. Nearly 200 students participated in this productive dialogue. Students and alumni have since shared with me the importance of addressing anti-racism even more proactively beyond our existing programs and to question if we have indeed created the inclusive, safe and respectful environment that we seek for all in our community. It is important to note that these issues are not resolved in the short term and there is a clear need for ongoing attention, effort and commitment as a school community. Our renewed strategic plan “Together Towards 2025 – Ensemble vers 2025” identifies a key priority as fostering an inclusive school community to build on the strengths of our diversity. This priority is perhaps more evident now than ever.
Our close relationship with the Global Centre for Pluralism is an excellent resource and we are planning a series of workshops for small groups of students and staff, even after our Closing this week, to continue the conversation on anti-racism. We are also studying how to build on last week’s initiative for all within our community—students, alumni, families, and staff—who have so much to contribute. It is important that we stand together, listen to each other and engage in respectful dialogue. There are considerable learning opportunities ahead for our school and I invite you to join us in contributing to future forums on these critical issues. As Head of School, I recognize that there have been students, past and present, who may feel the need to be heard. Please know that you should feel safe and supported in sharing your stories as we learn from you and become stronger together.
Please note your interest in adding your voice to future initiatives here and we will connect with you as plans and details come together.
As I included in my weekly message to our students and parents last week, there has been considerable introspection within our own school community about how we can be more inclusive and examine our own behaviours, words and actions as we ensure we uphold our motto of Probitas, Virtus, Comitas—honesty, courage and kindness—in all that we do.
Head of School – Directeur