Black Lives Matter

At WNS, it is our moral imperative to be courageous and intentional in promoting understanding and addressing bias
, identifying and honoring qualities of justice, respecting multiple perspectives and contributions, and valuing the dignity of all

Community Call to Action

May 31, 2020

Dear WNS Community and Friends,

There is gut wrenching pain right now in all of our hearts and for and with our African American community with yet another horrific story of the senseless killing of George Floyd by law enforcement in Minnesota. This tragedy comes as we are still reeling from the news that came to light a few weeks ago of the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old man jogging in broad daylight through a south Georgia neighborhood, and Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician who was killed during a “no-knock” police raid done in error on her home in Kentucky.

These tragic events and the subsequent demonstrations that have sparked around the world are a reminder of the persistent structural racism against African Americans in this nation. As a community, we must find meaningful ways to support our students, parents, colleagues, and friends, who continue to endure the pain as a result of these events, not just through our words, but also through our actions. We know that incidents of violence and injustice against African Americans happen far more often than is reported in the news and has been occurring for centuries. This issue goes well beyond mistreatment and brutality at the hands of those who have sworn an oath to protect and to serve. It manifests through countless inequities that pervade every aspect of African American life.

This is why having a robust Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion program isn’t a choice or nice to have for our school; it’s essential. This is why affinity groups allow members in our community who share a common experience, common concerns, and common fears the space to talk with one another in a safe and nurturing place. This is why we teach some of the hard-to-talk-about lessons in our classrooms and in parent and faculty workshops. And that is why we must support one another to do the often uncomfortable work of waking up, speaking out, and taking action. We are witnessing, I want to believe, the much too late arrival, but arrival nonetheless, of an awakening in America where enough is enough and that if everyone isn’t genuinely afforded the rights, protections, and opportunities in our constitution, then none of us are.

WNS has been and continues to do this important work, but we also know there is much more that can and should be done. WNS is committed as a school community to educate and inform ourselves and to do the hard work needed to fully embrace anti-racism. We recognize that racism in our country is systemic, and that, collectively, we have the capacity to change this. As a school community, we are committed to advancing our anti-racism work to ultimately eradicate racial inequities that have persisted in our country for far too long.

This summer, WNS will offer various opportunities for parents, students, faculty and alumni, to continue to deeply engage in this work. If you would like to be a part of this movement over the summer and beyond, please visit


Brad Zacuto
Head of School

Dr. Martinique Starnes
Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion


WNS Board Resolution

Unanimously Approved on June 16, 2020
“This is equity: just and fair inclusion into a society in which all can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential. Unlocking the promise of the nation by unleashing the promise in us all.” – Angela Glover Blackwell
Black people in this country have not experienced equity. The events of this year have helped spotlight this fact for the world to see. The murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and countless others, along with the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black and Brown people call upon all of us to be better. To do better. Our children and families deserve more.
WNS Board of Trustees Vision
The WNS Board of Trustees is responsible for supporting the school and its head, and for demonstrating that support within the community. The Board sets policy and focuses on long-range and strategic issues. As Trustees deeply committed to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, we feel it is our duty and responsibility at this time to declare where we stand on these issues, why it matters, and what we are doing to actively combat racism and stand in support of the Black community.
Where We Stand
  • We stand with children and families and, in particular, with Black children and families.
  • We stand with our head of school, faculty and administration.
  • We stand in solidarity with the Black community. We want to truly understand what it means to be exhausted! We embrace antiracism.
  • We stand against police brutality and the underlying structural racism and systems of injustice that led us to this moment.
  • We stand in unity with the millions of freedom fighters across the nation and around the world who have come together peacefully to stand against racism and violence.
Why it Matters
We want to ensure we achieve equity…inspiring hope for all people to live lives of justice, peace, and equality. We want children to be children without living in fear of the police or a system set against them.
Black parents should not have to take away their children’s innocence at a young age to explain that they will experience racism simply based on the color of their skin. We want all children at WNS to have a multicultural experience throughout their education, where all cultures are embraced and valued. We do not want WNS children to be expected to conform to White culture. We recognize that this is our work to do.
What We’re Doing
  • We are preparing the next generation to be agents of lasting change.
  • We are preparing our students to be leaders who love, who speak out against hate, and who advocate for their peers. We are providing resources to parents so that they may gain a deeper understanding of their own identities and those of fellow parents.
  • We are cultivating a deeper sense of respect towards our faculty and staff of color.
  • We continue to equip our faculty with the tools necessary to engage in developmentally appropriate critical conversations with all students to foster their evolution into productive and contributive global citizens.
  • We support the head to regularly evaluate and ensure our curriculum is culturally relevant and reflects the diverse richness of our nation.
  • We are working with our newly hired Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to take a closer look at the norms in our community. What assumptions are we making? Whose lens are we viewing them through? Is everyone using the same lens?
What We Will Do
Resolved, that the WNS Board of Trustees and Westside Neighborhood School will take the following actions:
  • We will educate all members of our community, including the Board, on how to be accomplices and antiracists. We commit to actively listening to the voices of our Black parents and caregivers, faculty and staff, and students to understand how to best meet their needs.
  • We will ensure that recruiting, hiring and onboarding policies employ an equity lens, whether seeking faculty, staff, or members of the Board of Trustees.
  • We will embrace a growth mindset and we understand that things will get uncomfortable.
  • We will use our Board Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory committee to help keep us accountable and update the community of our progress at the end of each trimester.
  • We will actively fund initiatives that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Inside DEI @ WNS

Check out at what Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion looks and feels like at WNS…