June 2, 2020
Dear Trinity Students, Families and Alumni,
Yesterday I wrote to you expressing my sincere hopes for peace in our time with an emphasis on respect and empathy. To be clear, we condemn racism in all forms and are committed to help bring about the change we desperately need in our nation. As the country grieves the tragic death of George Floyd and many others before him, Richmond, our own community, and our nation are all hurting from injustice and systemic issues that have yet to be solved. My heart is especially heavy for our African-American students, families and alumni. Recent events have again opened our eyes to the issues that African-American students face each day.
As I said yesterday, this is an especially important time to check in with your friends, as many are feeling pain, anxiety, frustration and exhaustion. Ordinarily, our student community is able to come together when we must confront and process difficult subjects — and I wish we could be together now more than ever.
With that in mind, we are actively planning for a series of on-campus discussions for our students and faculty to engage meaningfully with these topics. If you have resources or expertise you would like to share to help guide our planning, please reach out.
As educators, we must look toward the future and a more just society. Reducing deep-seated issues of injustice and racism is essential to shaping that future and moving our community and the nation forward. These are vital topics for us all.
Head of School
June 1, 2020
Dear Trinity Families,
We all watched the events of the weekend unfold in Richmond and likely had an array of reactions: sadness, hurt, and even fear at the loss of life which launched them and the effect they have had on the people and the city we love.
Although I don't pretend to have the answers to the problems of our time, there are strong values shared by the Trinity community that give me hope. Whether it is in Morning Meeting or our hallways and classrooms, our message has always been a timeless one. Follow the golden rule, be kind, use the skills you have to seek answers to difficult questions, and above all treat all fellow human beings with respect and dignity.
There is a quote by Neil deGrasse Tyson which I keep in my portfolio as a “go to” in cases where I deliver the Morning Meeting reading. He and I are similar in age, and were motivated by some of the same heroes growing up. Dr. deGrasse Tyson says: “Humans aren't as good as we should be in our capacity to empathize with feelings and thoughts of others, be they humans or other animals on Earth. So maybe part of our formal education should be training in empathy. Imagine how different the world would be if, in fact, that were ‘reading, writing, arithmetic, empathy.’”
Trinity aspires to teach empathy in all that we do. Our Episcopal Identity states firmly that “God loves all people... [and] our community strives to operate in grace... [and] to embrace all students.” Our students, who come from all over RVA and all walks of life, hear this often, take it to heart and put it to action in their daily interactions — and we are better for it. Our community has not reached perfection, and our work does and will always continue — but at the heart of it all, the compliment I treasure the most is when I hear a visitor or a student say, “I always feel welcome here.” This simple yet profound comment is the product of many years of work by our entire community.
I hope each of you will spread this sense of empathy for all, put yourself in the hearts and minds of others and develop a deeper understanding of the communities we share. If you know someone who is feeling uncertain, anxious or in pain, now is a good time to reach out and just say hello. When we treat each other with respect and empathy, there is no limit to the amount of good we can do for the world.
To everyone in our community, I would like to say that I miss all of you and wish you safety and peace in the coming days.
Very truly yours,