As we continue to make sense of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, this week we have also been confronted with and tried to make sense of the ugly face of racism seen in the USA, and indeed across the world. I expect that you share with me the feelings of anger and sense of horror in response to this situation. The #blacklivesmatter movement has become an urgent and necessary voice for change.
How timely, that this week in Australia it is ‘Reconciliation Week’ as we continue to work for healing, justice and a more tolerant and inclusive nation. It is so important that as a school we are teaching children to understand and apply these principles, values and attitudes to their lives… and equally that we are teaching the children through the modelling and personal example of our own lives. Surely, this is one of the most important starting points in a child’s education. It is also at the heart of being ‘inspired for life’, following Jesus’ example and His teachings, living and working towards peace in our world.
I believe that all that #blacklivesmatter movement represents, is foundational to a healthy community and is something that we must constantly reinforce and advocate for in our society. For the past five years, this has been a clearly stated priority for our school (think of our International Day last year and our annual support of the White Ribbon Day). At our Parent Vision 2020 Evening in February I spoke about the importance of us being a school community that demonstrates authentic love in action. 2020 was to be a year “framed by God’s love”. Little did I realise that what I spoke about and followed up in the newsletter that week, what was in store for us this year. Here is an excerpt from our Newsletter, 14th February;
May we be a school that is characterised by anti-racism, tolerance, an understanding of differences, inclusion and respect for one another. May we be a school that celebrates the many rich cultures and traditions, reflecting our diverse multicultural backgrounds. Let’s start and finish all we do with gratitude and appreciation and have a sense of excitement about the opportunities and possibilities for all we will do and achieve together over 2020. In these days of rapid change, I believe that we will need each other more than ever.
Back in May 2018, I wrote;
“I cannot stress enough that we do not tolerate racism at Claremont College, and we will not hesitate to respond to any issues should they arise within our school community. It was good to recognise and celebrate the diverse cultural backgrounds within our school community, and to reinforce the important message that each one of us is created in God's image, and we are loved and precious in His eyes."
I wish to highlight the wonderful ‘Reconciliation Week’ acknowledgement to country video that some of our students have created this week, along with the many student work samples from across the school (K-6). Thank you to our teachers for inspiring the children in their learning. You can watch the video HERE.
Please join with me in striving for and working towards the creation of a school community that is a safe place for all, which embodies the values of kindness, compassion and collaboration and that in itself, becomes a change agent for making this world a place that we are all proud to belong to, sowing the seeds for a brighter future for our children and all people.
‘Peacemakers who sow in peace, reap a harvest of righteousness.’ James 3:18