The Branksome Hall community has been deeply impacted by the events that are unfolding in the United States, Canada and around the world in the wake of the death of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis. We are outraged, shocked and saddened, and we wish to extend our condolences to the Floyd family and to all those who are suffering, in particular communities of colour.
Branksome Hall rejects racism and discrimination, and we stand with our Black students, families, alum and employees and all those who continue to experience racism. Issues of racism run deep, are systemically entrenched, and impact so many people, not just in the U.S., but across Canada and in our own Branksome community.
As a mission-driven school that aims to inspire our students to shape a better world, we believe in the power of critical thinking, researched debate, international mindedness and dialogue to make meaning and advance understanding. Sharing perspectives and most importantly, building compassion and empathy through open and honest discourse, are important stepping stones toward taking action and effecting change within Branksome and beyond.
Together, we will continue to challenge each other, create safe and brave spaces to have important conversations about anti-Black racism and discrimination at Branksome Hall. We each have a role to play, and all voices must be heard, valued and respected. This work is uncomfortable and not easy, and we are committed.
We know our students are seeking spaces to discuss and make meaning of these events. In Advisor sessions this week, students will focus on allyship and what it means to be an ally. A student-led video is being created that will be shared with Advisor groups on Thursday to set up the discussion.
A collection of age-appropriate resources is being compiled and will be shared with the community in this week’s Friday Files and Road Aheads, as well as posted to the Portal. These will support parents and employees in speaking with students and each other about race and racism. We highly recommend that you review this link to an impactful collection of resources that psychologist Dr. Lisa Damour shared yesterday.
This is an ongoing conversation and a partnership. We must work together in breaking down barriers, eliminating discrimination and bias. We each must contribute to and create an inclusive, safe, respectful and equitable space for learning and working. Our values of sense of community, inclusiveness, creativity and making a difference will continue to guide us in these efforts.
Now more than ever, in this challenging time, we support each other, acknowledge each other’s pain, and show compassion to community, friends, family members and colleagues who may be angry, grieving and hurt. This is a time for listening and for self-reflection.
It is also a time for action. As a leadership team, we are deeply committed to supporting all of our community members of colour, to creating safe, respectful and identity-affirming environments, and together, to working toward acknowledging and eradicating systemic, institutionalized and structural racism. We all have the responsibility to do everything we can to ensure each member of our community feels that they can be who they are and that they belong.
Karen L. Jurjevich
Executive Director, Finance & Administration
Executive Director, Advancement & Community Engagement
Head, Talent Management
Head, Curriculum Innovation and Professional Learning
Director, Technology & Innovation
Head, Junior School