The following was sent via email to the Shady Side Academy community on Sunday, May 31, 2020.
May 31, 2020
Dear Shady Side Community,
This weekend, against the backdrop of a continuing global pandemic, we have observed with unsettling clarity the deep and lasting imprint of racism and injustice in every segment of American society.
The tragic death of George Floyd is the latest event in a long history of dehumanizing racism in our country. I am devastated and incensed that this history continues to repeat itself in our streets and on our television screens. While we have made significant societal progress over many generations, Floyd's death and the incidents of the past few days provide even further evidence that systemic inequities still pervade in America.
I know all of you at Shady Side share my care and concern for those in our community most affected by these hateful and violent acts. While I cannot fully comprehend the pain, fear, and vulnerability our African-American students, parents, alumni, faculty and staff must feel at the moment, I recognize that all of us at SSA must continue to do our part to confront and dismantle racism and injustice through our instruction, policy, and practice.
Our students will have a need to discuss the weekend's events with both peers and adults. Because we cannot be together on campus right now, I encourage all of you to support one another and make time and space for such conversations and reflection in your home. Shady Side's counselors remain available to support students, teachers, and families. Several helpful resources are currently available on the Diversity & Inclusion page of our website as well.
In the face of so much tragedy and hatred, our Guiding Principles and mission to inspire expansive thought, ethical action, and responsible leadership remain paramount. This work has never been more urgent – our opportunity never more profound.
I join you in seeking courage, humility, and compassion in the coming days as we move forward together as a school, city, and nation.
Bart Griffith '93