Dear Upper School Students, Families, Colleagues, and Alumni,
St. Anne’s-Belfield condemns anti-Asian hate at the highest level. We stand in solidarity with Asian, Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities who have been the target of violence and discrimination. We grieve with and offer solace to our Asian and AAPI students, families, alumni, faculty, and staff who are hurting.
News reports and recently released research from Stop AAPI Hate detail an alarming increase in anti-Asian hate crime in the United States over the past 12 months, with more than 3,800 reports of AAPI people being assaulted, shunned, and discriminated against by people falsely blaming them for the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 16th, a gunman in the Atlanta area killed eight people at three Asian owned businesses. While authorities have yet to declare a motive, six of the eight victims were Asian women.
I want you to know that we are committed to doing this difficult, at times painful, work at St. Anne’s-Belfield to examine our own shortcomings and continually improve on behalf of our students, alumni and colleagues. We will not ignore the importance of bringing this hatred to light and helping our students understand the history and how we can change the future. Advisors and trusted adults will continue checking in individually with some of our Asian and AAPI students. Our Residence Life faculty and students have been discussing anti-Asian racism as a group since before this week’s violence. These dedicated faculty members are following our students’ lead on what support students would find helpful, and will be sharing resources and undergoing intentional scenario training at their next faculty meeting.
Parents, please know that all of us, and especially our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) team and our School counselors, are here to support your children. Additionally, all faculty and staff members at the School have undergone two workshops in the Stanley H. King Institute’s deep listening series so that they are better able to support students. If your student has a heavy heart, be it related to this specific incidence of violence or another matter, please direct them to go to any trusted adult, to contact a member of the DEI team (Phil Stinnie, Erica Roth, Sandra Sohne-Johnston, or email DEI@stab.org), or be in touch with their division’s counselor (Lily Gumz for grades PS-8, or Sophie Speidel for grades 9-12).
We know we can’t protect our children from a world that is, at times, very broken. What we can do is speak out against and condemn these acts of racism and hate. We can also work to ensure that all of our students know and feel deeply that they belong in our School community, so that they may carry that sense of belonging and love with them into their futures.
With sorrow and hope,
Dr. Autumn A. Graves
Head of School