By Taylor Stockdale
On Monday, in a letter to our entire community, we decried the violence in the killing of George Floyd – and, so many more black Americans over this country’s history. We also explained that as an educational institution we play a critical role in moving our nation forward. We write again today to reiterate and further emphasize our conviction. And we also want to provide more detail on the actions Webb has taken and will continue to take.
First and foremost, we stand in solidarity with our black students, parents, alumni, and faculty–– not only in this difficult and heart wrenching time, but always. The persistent racism and the associated aggression that you endure are unacceptable. As our Monday letter stated, it must stop and we must do all that is required to stop it. We also want you to know that we are a committed anti-racist institution. To us, this means that we recognize institutional racism and are working together to address it and oppression. To us, this means we stand behind people of color in our community, that we want them to know – and feel – that they are fully a part of Webb. To us, this means committing to an ongoing process of education and growth as an institution.
This work must be driven by action and deliberate practice. We know we have a long way to go, and yet we also see our community evolving in significant ways. Here are a few of the actions that Webb has undertaken recently. We have charted our way with the creation in 2018 of a codified companion to our Mission Statement, entitled “Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion.” We also administered the National Association of Independent School’s Assessment for Inclusivity and Multiculturalism. That assessment spurred the creation of a faculty and staff Committee on Diversity & Inclusion to help draft new goals for Webb in the year ahead.
At the same time, we have made a shared commitment to recruiting and retaining faculty and students of color – this has led us to strengthen key partnerships with organizations from The Independent School Alliance and Strategenius, to the NAIS People of Color and Student Diversity Leadership Conferences. We have also worked in partnership with our students to elevate their voices and strengthen their agency. A presentation by the student-led Empowering Student Voices Initiative to our board of trustees at our May 29 meeting reminded us of how far Webb has come and the significant work ahead.
In closing, we want to reiterate that we are fully committed to this work and to better supporting our black students, faculty and staff, and other students of color.
We are also committed to being an ally in this work beyond the gates of Webb and in the world around us. We look forward to continuing to share our goals and progress on this journey. With all of you, we are committed to being part of the solution and part of a better future together.