THE PRESIDENT'S BLOG

Listening & Learning

Jim Hansen      August 24, 2020 3:30 pm

As you are likely aware, in recent weeks, social media has provided a forum for members of many school communities to share painful personal experiences with racism and bias at their schools. A number of current and past students have shared their experiences that have caused hurt and have led them to feel demeaned, judged and excluded at Hill-Murray. We are saddened by the painful experiences described in these posts, and we write today to be very clear of our commitment to effect meaningful change at Hill-Murray School.

We deeply respect the courage it takes for these individuals to come forward with their stories, and we honor the efforts being made to strengthen and move us toward greater alignment with our mission to know, love, and respect all of our students. Our doors are open to you to listen and learn. We want to hear your stories because healing begins when an experience has been witnessed, understood and empathized with.

However, witnessing, understanding and empathizing is not enough. As your President and President-Elect we are committed to learning from your experiences to effect change at Hill-Murray. Last fall, we started a committee consisting of students, parents and board members who committed to listen and help drive change. This committee will make recommendations for institutional change in October. We are committed to making positive changes at Hill-Murray.

While we have emphasized issues of social justice through recent initiatives, there is much more that we can do. Our efforts need to be ongoing and relentless. We will review the testimonies on social media to help us advance our work and to engage our entire community in this essential dialogue and social justice movement. We are keenly aware that we are in a moment of history wherein all voices must be raised in opposition to the persistent and insistent scourge of racism. 

We encourage any member of our community, past or present, who would find it helpful to have a restorative conversation with someone at Hill-Murray about experiences with discrimination or racism at our school to contact us.  We also invite you to speak with the KLR task force when it presents its findings and recommendations Tuesday the 13th of October at 6:30pm.

We are in full support of speaking truth in the face of injustice, bias and racism. Let’s do this work together — constructively, earnestly and kindly. We are committed to helping our students develop the capacity to engage in constructive, open dialogue. Open dialogue requires being receptive to new insights and growth; this allows others to grow as well. 

After the facts and figures of our curriculum have faded from students’ memory, our hope is that your faith, courage to listen to each other, and to be a power for good in our world shall remain. This involves more than being known, loved, and respected; it also means all of us sharing in the concern and responsibility for everyone in the Hill-Murray community.

Sincerely,

Melissa Dan, President-Elect

Jim Hansen, President