A Statement on the Derek Chauvin Trial – April 22, 2021

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Dear Country Day Families, 

On Tuesday, the jury returned its verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, finding him guilty of all charges, including second degree murder, in the death of George Floyd.

We stand in solidarity with our families of color, many of whom are angry, fearful, sad and exhausted by the ongoing incidents of violence against African-American, LatinX, and Asian American citizens, and our country’s history of racial inequality. Since testimony began on March 29, at least 64 people have died at the hands of law enforcement nationwide, with Black and Latino people representing more than half of the dead, including the recent killings of Daunte Wright in Minnesota, Adam Toledo in Chicago, and Ma’Khia Bryant in Ohio.

While the justice system has spoken in this case, it cannot bring back the lives of those lost, and we recognize that there is much more work to be done to overcome the history of inequality and racism in America. At Country Day, we know the important role we play in developing future citizens of our world as we aspire to create a more just and equitable community. As a school we are reflecting on the issues of diversity, equity and inclusion through our work with the Assessment of Inclusion and Multiculturalism (AIM) survey.

As always, our faculty and staff members act as resources for your children as they process the events of this week in the wake of the trial. Teachers will respond to questions and moderate discussions in age-appropriate ways across the divisions. For example, the Middle School held a voluntary forum yesterday afternoon for students to ask questions. Elsewhere, faculty will help our students make meaning from these events and ensure that especially the voices of our historically marginalized communities are heard, understood and valued.

This year, families of color within our community also launched a new affinity group intended to offer its members the opportunity to build community, strengthen inclusive practices, and share resources and connect on topics important to the development and support of children of color. Affinity groups bring people together who share a particular identity (e.g. race, gender, religion, family status, etc.), so that they can speak to the experience of being a member of the group from the “I” perspective. Families of color may sign up to participate in the group by completing our sign up form available on CavNET. 

If you are seeking guidance about how to talk to your children about race, here are some resources you may find helpful:

 

Respectfully,

Lee Thomsen
Head of School