The national news in the last week has been chilling to the point of numbness. The three biggest news stories—pipe bombs mailed to critics of the current administration; the murder of two African American adults in Kentucky who were killed because of their race; the murder of 11 Jewish worshippers in a horrific anti-Semitic act of violence in Pittsburgh—all centered around people who are so filled with hate for a particular group of people, that they felt extreme violence was the only course of action. In the aftermath of each violent news story, many of us have begun to exist, at least for a few days, in this strange space between “shocked” and “totally unsurprised.” It has left me hanging my head and constantly hugging my children.
Working with young people in our community in the last few years has continued to be a challenge. New discussion topics, debates, and emotional needs require constant tweaking and re-tweaking of the methods of teaching and support that we thought we knew so well. Our student population is not only racially and ethnically diverse, but we also very proudly have a large number of students whose parents were born and raised in other countries. We also have many students who were born in other countries. As national conversations about patriotism and immigration heat up, Brimmer continues to actively welcome cultures from every corner of the globe into its community. And we are incredibly proud of that. The cultural richness here is undeniable.
We also have students who truly care about one another and who want a kind community where they can feel safe. Many of us have raised or are raising children. Each one of us knows that the happiest kids feel safe and loved for who they are. Kids will mess up and sometimes say things to one another that are regrettable. But in the end, our students have good hearts, and we try hard to recognize that in them and remind them of that.
That we work so hard to keep this community diverse and kind is one of the main reasons I love working here and that I am able to, at the end of the day, finish reading the news and know that despite what’s “out there,” Brimmer is an incredibly safe place. We know each other, and we care about one another. Mr. R-V and Mr. Neudel each prepared and read powerful and thoughtful statements about recent news events to the Middle and Upper School students during morning meeting on Monday, and one could have heard a pin drop. The mood was somber, but it reminded me that we are a tight community, and we trust that we will take care of one another.
I am hopeful that in the near future, our country can repair the polarization that exists right now. In the meantime, I take solace in knowing that I am so incredibly lucky to be part of this community.
Editor’s Note: Jessica Christian serves as the School’s Director of Equity and Inclusion.