Every day at BDS there are too many acts of kindness, caring, respect, friendship, and love to count. The uncountable amount of good that happens here equals the joy that makes us the community we want to bea community in which everyone, from the youngest Pre-K scholar to the eldest faculty member, and including every parent, is safe and seen and respected.
Beyond BDS there is much in the world that reflects and supports our values and aspirations. Sadly, we must also acknowledge the disturbing number of incidents of hatred and violence that occur in our society. Most recently, the horrible murder of eight people in Georgia, six of whom were AAPI-identified (Asian-American-Pacific-Islander) women, reminds us that we have to continue to do our best to actively push against the rising count of atrocities committed against AAPI-identified people, against women, and against so many groups that face social bias.
Being aware of the need to make sure the lives of AAPI-identified people count every bit as much as they should, and taking any actions that we can to help our society achieve equity and justice for everyone are consistent with our values and with basic human decency.
How can we do this? How can we make the world better? What are the actions that young people can take to reduce the number of hurtful incidents and increase justice for those who face social bias?
Students can make sure that in their school community the count of hurtful actions based on social identity is zero. No jokes, no gestures, no remarks, no sharing of offensive material, no behavior that might make anyone wonder if they are safe, seen, and respected here at BDS, no standing by in the face of such behavior. In fact, only students can do this.
There are over three hundred students at BDS. If every single one of them refuses to act in ways that might be harmful or offensive to anyone’s sense of identity (their heritage or ethnicity, appearance, age, ability, gender, sexual orientation, race, social status, or worldview/belief system), the count of social bias incidents in our community will be zero.
None of us is perfect. All of us absorb some of the stereotypes, prejudices, and biases we receive from society. That will make it hard to achieve our goal, no doubt. Can we do hard things at BDS? No doubt. In coming to BDS we signed up to do the hard, important, and joyful work of honoring differences and making meaningful contributions. So, let’s not dwell on can we and instead focus on how will we.
One way to honor the people whose lives were lost in the senseless murders in Georgia is to recommit ourselves to making BDS a truly antibias community. Teachers have already started to create opportunities for students to reflect on what they do and what they might be able to do better to make their school safe, inclusive, and joyful. We know we can count on BDS parents to support us and to support their children in reaching the goal of zero.
Next week we’ll hold two gatherings for parents who would like to discuss the Georgia incident, the state of social bias in America, and how to support our children in the face of it all. One forum will be held on Thursday, March 25 from 5:30 t0 6:45 p.m. This forum will be for AAPI-identified parents in order to provide a safe space for them to share and offer support as members of the social identity group facing intensified bias. The second forum will be on Friday, March 26 from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. It will be open to any parent interested in this issue.
Links for both online gatherings will be sent out through our Wednesday communication and will be posted to the Parent Portal.