It must be stated clearly and emphatically: Black Lives Matter.
This statement doesn’t mean other lives don’t matter. It simply acknowledges that black lives, in our nation, have been threatened to a degree unmatched elsewhere.
On behalf of Brunswick School, I want to state that we as a school community stand unequivocally with those across our nation who rise in peaceful protest against the gross and dehumanizing injustices we’ve witnessed in the deaths of George Floyd and also others who have — for far too long and with insufficient recourse — similarly died or suffered.
We are a school whose motto is Courage, Honor, and Truth — we can take no other stand than this at this time.
In deeply reflecting on events of the last week — communicating with our boys, our alumni, our faculty, and parents — I cannot help but to recall words from Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, itself an American tale of social marginalization, hypocrisy, and authoritarian injustice: “We dream in our waking, and walk in our sleep.”
Today, those words seem apt to our nation and to our school: Compelled by decades of tragedy and by generations of pent-up rage, things have finally come to a point where words are not enough. Hope is not enough.
Now, action is the only recourse.
It’s clear: For too long, we have been “walking in our sleep,” imagining that, in the wake of the Civil Rights Movement, things have been gradually getting better; imagining that, as a nation and a people, we were holding true to our commitment to the equality of all people — when in actual fact, all around us, there were (and are) signs that prove otherwise.
To suggest that, as a white man of privilege, I never noticed those disparities would be a lie. To represent that I can fully comprehend the extended and deeply felt agony of people of color would be an insult to those who experience those emotions on a daily basis.
But now, as we struggle through and, I hope, emerge from this time of great tragedy, we may finally have come to the point at which, individually and collectively, we are able to “dream in our waking” — to dream of fulfilling our vision as a nation and, specific to Brunswick, strengthening our community commitment as a school to truly and fully loving and caring for each and every boy in our charge.
The cumulative pain and fear of generations of people of color is being felt by a nation. The need for immediate and positive change is indisputable.
Brunswick is committed to being part of that change. We are unreservedly committed to supporting all students, alumni, parents, faculty, and staff — especially those of color — during this heartbreaking and important time of grieving, and always.
We need to get better — much better — as a nation and as a school. As we “dream in our waking,” Brunswick is committed to fulfilling the dream of righting injustice and to doing its part in this urgent and essential American endeavor.