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 wns-la.org/blm.
Head of School
Dr. Martinique Starnes
Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
WNS Board Resolution
Unanimously Approved on June 16, 2020
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.