June 3, 2020
Dear Benjamin community,
On top of all the illness, loss of life, and disruption brought on by the pandemic, I have found the murder of George Floyd and the chaos since his death to be almost overwhelming. So much anger, frustration, and confusion. So many issues, problems, and fears.
Earlier today, I spoke with a former student of mine, Michael Gary, who is the head of a major Quaker school in Philadelphia. It was a moment of the teacher learning from the student, as I listened to Michael’s thoughtful words of response to the situation our country faces and considered what he had written to his school community- a very personal statement: “In these moments, being a first-generation private school college graduate with a Master's degree and now head of a historic Philadelphia independent Quaker school does not protect me as a black man in America. And to be reminded of this truth every day because of systemic racism is outrageous and frustrating.”
Despite that feeling, Michael focused on how to help students and families cope with this matter and get through these most troubling days. Yesterday, Susan Poncy sent an email to Lower and Middle school families with suggestions on how to help children process all that they are seeing and hearing about the death of Mr. Floyd, police treatment of African-Americans, protests, and riots. I hope you have found her suggestions helpful. I am resending it, so all families have it as a reference. Additionally, I have added a short list of resources Michael recommended to me.
Let us all work to find the way to peace, healing, and reform.
Thomas J. Reid
Interim Head of School
Here are a few resources to help in the journey of continuing revelation: