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A Message From Crissy: Now Is The Time

 

Dear BFS Community,

Now is a time for us to love harder.
It is a time for us to care with all of our might.
This is a time for our voices to reflect convictions that uphold respect for everyone.
For Brooklyn Friends School, this is a time to boldly live who we say we are.

THIS moment – this moment right here and now – is one asking for us all to collaboratively engage in deeds that eradicate actions which inhumanely diminish peoples’ lives, especially the lives of the many who continue to be marginalized as a result of their identities.  In the context of the COVID-19 global health pandemic, we are also face to face with the consequences of hatred, overtly and horrifyingly resulting in the continuous killing of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color). Millions, including students and adults in our community, are now using their voices in protest of the injustice and continuous anguish existing for BIPOC, women, and LGBTQ+ people in our country and world.

Co-existing with these realities is Brooklyn Friends School, and thus, coexisting with these realities is also hope. At the heart of our spiritual community is the credence that complacency cannot exist while also claiming that we honor the Light within each human being. Indeed, when members of our community hurt, we all hurt. As such, as a Quaker independent school, we commit to acting on testimonies and principles that drive our lives’ walks each day.

Hans Weening, a Quaker theologian, writes of the Quaker testimony of simplicity,
“The testimony of simplicity seeks…. to focus our attention on what is essential and eternal, without distraction by the transitory or the trivial.”

In the various letters that I have written since March, I have had various adjectives to describe this time – unprecedented, harsh, painful, scary, shocking, overwhelming – and all point to vast ways that our world has changed this year. We are in the midst of a historic moment that will serve to define much in the future of our local, national, and global communities. Yet, as Weening reminds us, now is our moment to focus on what is essential. Within our community, our students remind us each day of our purpose. They are essential in our world. Our stewardship of their experiences is essential. Our ability to honor the choice that you have made as families and colleagues to commit yourselves to BFS is essential. Our unwavering stance on the principles of Social Justice, Quakerism, and Service Learning/Civic Engagement as central to our existence and purpose as a school is essential. Our very presence serves as an essential antidote to the varied ills facing us today.

In the coming days, our electoral process will unfold into a meaningful outcome for our country. We will see a long and divisive election campaign come to a close. I want to stress that, as a school, we do not take a political party side or a stance of support of either candidate. Also, as part of our upholding of inclusion and belonging, we strive to make sure that every student and adult is treated respectfully, even as we critically examine important issues with a diversity of perspectives at the center. However, we DO take a stand on what kindness and compassion and respect look like. We also teach your children about the electoral process, activism, and the importance of voting. In particular grades and divisions, there have been varied developmentally guided lessons to date.

Even as we can intellectually address what is before us, acknowledging the spectrum of valid feelings that many of us are carrying at this time, I am inviting all, students, families, alumni, and colleagues to a Meeting for Worship on Monday evening as a place of reflection, community, and spiritual strength. In addition, please know that as we enter election day and the days beyond, students will be able to lean on their teachers, advisors, school counselors, and divisional leaders and met with compassion, consideration, and developmentally appropriate spaces for processing of their thoughts and emotions. In this time of rancorous strife in various areas, we are paying careful attention to our students and how they are making sense of the world they are experiencing. We recognize that rather than proselytize our own views, our job as educators is to consistently model for BFS students and one another thoughtful engagement guided by our school’s mission. In the spirit of partnership and as a way to help support all of you, below are three resources that will help you engage your child(ren) in conversations now and in the days ahead.

Talking to Kids About the Election

How to Guide Your Kid Through Election Season

The Election Collection

In addition, this letter, worked on collaboratively by Heads of New York City independent schools is being shared with our 4th – 12th grade students tomorrow, and I share it with all of you so that you may also absorb the message and connect with your children about it.

Now, more than ever, your children, our students, need to know that we believe in them and in the fact that this is a world where boundless goodness is indeed possible.

And thus…

Now is a time for us to love harder.
It is a time for us to care with all of our might.
This is a time for our voices to reflect convictions that uphold respect for everyone.
For Brooklyn Friends School, this is a time to boldly live who we say we are.

In peace and partnership,

Crissy