To its credit, Fenwick High School has shattered the façade of racial well being at the college prep school on Washington Boulevard. With our divided nation taking stock of just how deep are the racial wounds perpetuated by institutions of all varieties, Fenwick’s board of directors on June 15 created a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.
The committee was inevitable as the school heard, unbidden, the chilling and painful testimony of its graduates of color in the days following the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. In a letter from the chairman and the president of the school they wrote, “The outpouring of anger, pain and frustration from so many of Fenwick’s alumni and students of color over the past few weeks has been deafening. We have heard and are deeply saddened. It is clear that we have failed our students of color, and all of our students, in many ways.”
Until institutions admit the systemic racism woven into the heart and the history of an unexamined culture there is no hope. Confession though is the essential starting point for a very painful process. We applaud the students and graduates who are speaking about their experience in what will be a long process.