I feel compelled to comment briefly on last week’s murder of George Floyd and the ongoing nationwide peaceful protests and civil unrest that have been precipitated by that horrific incident. As teachers and students at a small independent school on the Cape, it can sometimes feel as if we live and work in a bit of a bubble and that the events of the world, whether they be global conflict, political instability, or social injustice, have little to do with us or are perhaps someone else’s problems to solve. There is an urgent volume, however, to the voices that are calling to us today, and I don’t know that any of us will have the luxury of sitting out this particular challenge of our time for much longer. And while I am like you saddened to witness the violence and destruction playing out across the country, as I consider the stated mission and values of Falmouth Academy, I cannot help but stand with George Floyd, with the countless people of color before him who lost their lives under comparable circumstances, with those that are peacefully raising their voices on our city streets, and with all those who have suffered under the burden of systemic racism.
Let’s be clear, police work is hard, often thankless work, and I am immensely grateful to those who, on my behalf, live out every day their mission to protect and serve. Some of those very good cops may belong to your classmates, teachers, friends, family or neighbors, so be careful of painting people with the same brush. It’s also important to understand that such police brutality is a symptom of a disease, not the disease itself. It is but a frequent and contentious inflection point during which the broader and more systemic racial injustices that usually linger just beneath the surface and in which so many of us have been unconsciously marinating for most of our lives tragically play out. Condemning one without challenging the other will only lead to more of the same.
We have but five remote school days remaining together, so whatever actions you choose to take in the name of healing divisions or rising to this particular challenge of our time, you will likely be taking within the context of your community and according to your own particular inclination. While we are still together, please know that anyone who wishes to respectfully share some time and space together to process thoughts and feelings will be invited to join Ms. DiFalco, Mr. Andrade, Mr. Wells, me, and your fellow classmates in a Zoom meeting later this morning. In the coming days, you may also discuss these current events in one or more of your classes. If you do, I’d ask you to err on the side of support and kindness for those who may be feeling their impact more directly or profoundly. A good time to lead with questions, to dialogue, to listen, to empathize, to understand, perhaps not the best time to lead with judgment, to debate, to sensationalize, or to score points. We all have a lot to learn.
Many have chanted in recent days, “If you want peace, work for justice.” At Falmouth Academy, I expect we are not often called upon to give peace and justice much thought. They just are. We just have those things, products of hard work on the part of our families, and of the intentional culture of our school to be sure, but perhaps more so, two among the many invisible privileges bestowed upon us largely as a result of the circumstances of our birth. There is so much good at Falmouth Academy, and the events of the past several days have underscored the importance that that good is not to be hoarded but to be generously shared broadly with those to whom it is not so readily available. You will often hear me say that the world needs more Falmouth Academy graduates. Never has that been truer than it is today.
Photo credit: Mia Galvam '22