A Pre-Kindergarten - Grade 12 co-educational independent day school in Westchester, New York

Community Letter from Ali Morgan and Rebecca Drago on Anti-Racism

 

For more, visit ryecountryday.org/antiracism.


 

 

 

Dear RCDS Community,

 

As Headmaster Scott Nelson shared in his recent letter, moral responsibility and strength of character are mission-level values at Rye Country Day School. This means we must be anti-racist; we must be upstanders and engaged citizens. We must also acknowledge that there is serious work to do to address the issue of racism at our school and in our society. We must strive to learn by listening and asking critical questions. As a community, we are deeply committed to doing this work. We have heard from many leaders within our alumni community who are willing to join the conversation. We are grateful for your engagement, and we write today with an invitation along with resources and updates from the School.

Join the conversation
Scott Nelson has asked to meet personally with anyone who is willing to share their story and/or voice their ideas regarding race at RCDS. These meetings can be in person, via phone, or via Zoom. We, too, would like to meet with anyone interested in the same. Please reach out directly to us, and we will arrange the meetings.

Gratitude
We want to take a moment to acknowledge the members of our community—students, alumni, families, faculty, and staff—who have over the years done the crucial work of diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism at the School. You have given our community so much. We know that this work is difficult, and we see and appreciate your commitment. As we continue this work, we are grateful for all that you have done to bring us to this moment. We also want to acknowledge that this work can be exhausting, and this work can take a toll. To our black and brown community members, many of whom have been so active in anti-racism work at RCDS and beyond over the years, we want you to know we understand if you need or want to "sit this one out," and we respect your need to do so. We promise to have your back, to keep the work going, and to be here if/when you want to connect.

Resources
The following resources may be helpful as you process, reflect on, and learn about systemic racism in our country's history, as well as the current moment. To support the entire Rye Country Day community, there are resources on this page for teachers, students, parents/guardians, and alumni. For additional support and/or questions about these resources, or to share resources you recommend we add, please don't hesitate to contact either of us.

An update and what's to come at RCDS
Over the last weeks, students and faculty have led and participated in a number of initiatives, including an all-school student-led Coalition for Solidarity, a special meeting of the ongoing Coalition of Differences that was launched in the fall; a four-mile fundraising march through Rye led by recent graduates; a discussion and resource-sharing session for Middle School students; and numerous meetings of the Action Against Racism initiative, a group of students and faculty looking critically at our school, and working towards making RCDS an intentionally anti-racist community. We are so proud of and inspired by the leadership of our students.

This work builds on the ongoing efforts of our Diversity and Inclusion and Public Purpose initiatives, which strive to ensure that social justice and equity are central to the student, family, and faculty/staff experience at Rye Country Day. Over the course of the last school year, a 70+ person task force comprising faculty, staff, administrators, alumni, parents/guardians, and students convened to draft a Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan for the coming years. The Board has endorsed the plan, which Mr. Nelson will share in its entirety in an upcoming communication.

In considering our past, present, and future work at RCDS, we must engage in constant critical assessment and honestly acknowledge that there is more for us to do to combat racism at our school and in our communities. We will be planning a number of opportunities for students, families, alumni, and faculty/staff to join and lead important conversations at the School, and we welcome your feedback and active participation. Be on the lookout for announcements about new programs soon.

Black lives matter.

In community,

Ali Morgan
Director of Diversity and Inclusion
ali_morgan@ryecountryday.org

Rebecca Drago
Director of Public Purpose
rebecca_drago@ryecountryday.org

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