Reflections: One Year Ago

Posted by: Chad Cianfrani, Head of School on Thursday, May 27, 2021 at 12:00:00 am

Oakwood Community,

As we reflect back on the killing of George Floyd one year ago -- and so many others with him since -- we are reminded of the very real impact that systemic racism has on many members of our community every single day. While we have seen many steps in the right direction this past year with holding people in power accountable for their actions, we still have so far to go to reach a place of true justice and equity in our country and in our world. 

At Oakwood,  we have spent much of the past year learning, sharing, discussing and creating as a community. While we navigate all the twists and turns of this year, we continue to try to make sense of, and take action against, the racism and injustice we see around us.  Much of this work has been led by the students who inspire, challenge, and hold us accountable each day to make the world a better place.

This year we have seen community members at every level - students, faculty, parents, alumni and board members - come together to learn about anti-racism through self-reflection, dialogue and action. Students collaborated with a local teen artist and other area students to create an amazingly impactful Black Lives Matter mural that is touring the Hudson Valley, raising awareness about issues of racial injustice with communities beyond our campus.  Parents met in monthly discussion groups covering topics such as environmental racism, the Voting Rights Act, disparities in our health care systems, and mass incarceration in the criminal justice system. Faculty attended multiple conferences exploring issues of race and continue to meet regularly on campus to discuss the best ways to empower students. Student voice and work within affinity groups reveals and drives change within our school community. The Alumni Council has taken time this year to create space for and highlight BIPOC alums through informal gatherings and social media spotlights. The Board committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion continues to explore ways to best support the school community as a whole in this important work. And the work goes on. 

Today Oakwood holds George Floyd and his family in the Light, as well as all of those lost violently to racial injustice, and we look forward to continuing the work ahead together as a community. 

Warmly,
Chad