5th June 20
The recent events in the US have shocked and saddened the world. The murder of an unarmed black man in police custody has caused much pain and distress. Demonstrations have broken out in America and across the globe following the death of George Floyd, who died after a white officer held him down by pressing a knee into his neck in Minneapolis last month. It has sparked protests, violence and disbelief that this sort of behaviour is still prevalent in the 21st century. I have been appalled by what has happened, and I am struggling to see how things will change. But something must change.
As a school, we are in a privileged position to shape and educate our community on what is right and what is wrong. DLD is an inclusive and respectful community, whose core values of tolerance, respect and kindness are the foundations on what the school is built on – they permeate through everything we do. Our rich diversity is an excellent source of inspiration and allows for those values of tolerance and respect to embed, develop and grow – but we can do more.
We have had open and candid conversations with colleagues and students this week on the #BlackLivesMatter issue. I want DLD to support and acknowledge this, by ensuring that we continue to educate our community as we have been doing, but also to facilitate a more open dialogue about this. By listening and learning from each other, we can act appropriately and hopefully build a much stronger and respectful community. Understandably, this will not happen overnight, nor is this is a knee jerk response to the events, but a considered and sustained programme of learning and understanding which complements the work we are doing. Together we can change.
In the short term, we will be holding a virtual assembly next week, reflecting on these shocking events and for our students and staff to contribute to it. We can use it as an educational tool going forward and one that will also mark this critical point in our collective history. The Year 13s have been given the opportunity to create a video on how they feel about the dreadful event, and some Lower School students have written poetry to express their emotions during this difficult time. The Student Council are also looking at ways in which to respond in a measured and considered manner. And all of this against a backdrop of a pandemic where millions around the world have lost their livelihoods. It’s a pandemic in which a markedly disproportionate number of the deaths have come from ethnic minorities. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those who have lost loved ones.
It’s a challenging time for us all, and I know that we are here for each other – please do reach out to one another if you need support or if you want to talk; we are also here if you need us. Things will change.
Irfan H Latif, Principal