Hope, Strength, and Solidarity: Creative Minds Stands with the Peaceful Protesters

Dear Creative Minds Community:

Today, and over the last week, we are witnessing a cry of pain. This pain arises from centuries of systemic violence against black men, women, and children and is most recently amplified by the brutal murder of George Floyd. There is great pain, too, in the murders of others like Eric Garner, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor and in the knowledge that these deaths are not anomalies; they are among the many appalling outcomes of an oppressive system that stretches back to the founding of our country.

But the uprisings of the past week are giving us hope. We, the Creative Minds community, stand with the peaceful protesters; with all black men, women, and children; and with all communities of color, and we share their goal of creating a just and equitable society.

Our hearts are beating stronger as activists around the world illuminate the power of community and of speaking out against divisive forces that wrongly see savagery as strength. We commit ourselves to condemning imbalances of power and a system that so grossly devalues so many human lives.

In witnessing the murder of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer, we must pause and ask how someone could have so much hatred in his heart as to perpetrate such a brutal act. It is an abject failure of human development when a person manifests the worst that he is capable of and destroys another life.

We believe it is essential for schools to nurture in students the social-emotional skills exemplified by the personal goals we practice at Creative Minds: Adaptability, Communication, Cooperation, Inquiry, Integrity, Resilience, Respect, and Thoughtfulness.

The international mindedness at the heart of the CMI philosophy embraces diversity because we know that by valuing differences we nurture empathy in our students and create a strong, humane community. If our students leave Creative Minds knowing that true strength arises from their best, most compassionate natures, and that they can use their voices to speak up against injustice, then we have done our job.

Today our nation is at an inflection point. We must commit to real justice and equality for all because injustice and inequality—against even one person—diminish all of us. We must say what we will not allow: violence, discrimination, destruction, and the devaluing of human lives. We must shout the names of George Floyd and all victims of racism, bigotry, and oppression so that they can be heard around the world and never forgotten.

A fair and just world begins with our everyday actions and attitudes. This week, we encourage you to practice one of our personal goals, in a small or larger way, as a commitment to building a stronger, more tolerant society. If you are a Creative Minds family member, please invite your child to practice a personal goal with you.

We will, as always, be practicing these goals, too, and looking deeply at how Creative Minds can help to create the society we are striving for. We must acknowledge our shortcomings, ask what more we can do, and then do better. In our teaching, learning, and working together we must personify the equality we’re asking of the world and not help to sustain the unjust system we are criticizing. This self-examination must apply to our curricula, our resources, our professional development—everything, including ourselves, that makes up our school. And our self-examination must translate into action and a commitment to asking, again and again, “What else can I do today?”

The events of the past week, and the issues they raise, are difficult to comprehend and discuss, especially for children. To help families address these topics, DCPS is hosting a free online workshop, Talking about Race with Your Child, on Wednesday, June 3, at 5:30 p.m.

Know we are here for everyone in the Creative Minds community. If you need help, in any way, please contact one of us.

The work we do now will resonate through the lives of our students and children. They inspire us to build a better world and are the reason we are here—committed to this vital work.

In hope, strength, and solidarity,

Chuck Jackson
Executive Director

Nayamka Long
Chief Academic Officer

Lorna Dill
Director of Middle School

Abby Sheffer
Director of Lower School