Lancers for Equity and Justice
Dear Parker Community,
On July 7, 2020, we shared two truths: Black Lives Matter; and at Parker, our organization, classes, and behaviors have not always reflected that essential truth. We pledge to do all in our power to help end systemic racial injustice. We are dedicating ourselves to revising our curriculum and program, devoting financial resources, engaging with philanthropic investors, and partnering with organizational leaders to seek and achieve the change we greatly desire for our students and our world.
The voices of our alumni and parents of alumni, along with their advocacy for change at Parker were critical in our swift movement. One alumna wrote, “I know that if any community can come together to make change, Parker can. You trained us to work hard despite all odds and that success is a marathon, not a sprint, so I ask that you remember these lessons yourself as we begin this process.”
They have asked us to “walk the walk;” we know actions speak louder than words. Therefore, we invite you to read the first version of the Action Plan. It is inspired by what we learned from the experiences of members of our community and created by a group of administrators, trustees, and faculty and staff including our Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Christen Tedrow Harrison, and our Grade 11 Dean, Dr. Rai Wilson.
Over the past decade, Parker has made strides in advancing this critical work including the establishment of a Diversity Committee of the Board of Trustees, undergoing a community-wide assessment of inclusivity and multiculturalism, and addressing the deficiencies and biases embedded in the JK to Grade 12 curriculum. Nevertheless, we know we have much more to do and pledge to do it with increased urgency, gravity, and earnestness.
We walk boldly and humbly toward a racially just future where each one of us feels like we belong in the Parker community.
Head of School
Susan E. Lester
July 7, 2020 Letter
July 7, 2020
Dear Parker Community,
There are two truths that we need to make unequivocally clear. First, Black Lives Matter. Second, over the years at Parker, we have not always lived up to that truth. In fact, on many occasions over the years, we have fallen short, and we offer our sincere apologies for any actions and inactions that have impacted the experiences of our Black families, students, and faculty, as well as all Indigenous and peoples of color, in painful ways. At Parker, what we permit, we promote. And we can no longer permit racism and inequity of any kind.
We also acknowledge that words like this will ring hollow absent an unflinching commitment to bold and courageous actions taken by the School that will lead to tangible and lasting change.
Parker is committed to taking the necessary actions, recognizing that we must first be willing to ask challenging questions and answer them with brutal honesty. Only when we do this can we identify and ultimately rectify the practices, systems, and policies that have perpetuated institutional racism. And while this work will require a significant investment on the part of us all, it is a commitment that is long overdue, and we cannot afford to wait any longer.
Colonel Francis Parker reminds us that “the work of the school will be determined by the needs of society.” There is no greater need in our society today than to work together to end institutional racism and racial injustice. Our work requires a deep commitment from all of us. This is our work, and this is the time to do what we must to be on the right side of justice.
On Sunday, July 26, we will publish to the full Parker community the Lancers for Equity and Justice Action Plan, which will detail the action steps we will be immediately implementing. Our work is already well underway as we have heard from and are collaborating with faculty, alumni, parents, and trustees in clearly defining these action steps and our accountability measures.
As President Barack Obama stated recently, “If, going forward, we can channel our justifiable anger into peaceful, sustained, and effective action, then this moment can be a real turning point in our nation’s long journey to live up to our highest ideals. Let’s get to work.”
Thank you for your vote of confidence in our vision, and for your enduring support of Parker as, together, we get to work.
Kevin Yaley, Head of School
Susan Lester, Board Chair