A Message from the Head

Jason HeissererUncategorized

To dream about creating a new world that is not
teetering on the edge of total destruction and
not work at it doesn’t make a peaceful world.
–Corita Kent
Learning by Heart

Friends,

My hope for Crossroads, St. Louis, our nation, and the world is that we cultivate moments of peace together as we approach this season of different holidays for different people. I hope that we cultivate moments of peace with courage and honesty and with a commitment to listening and with a commitment to holding on to one another as we work to understand who we are, where we come from, and how we arrived here together.

I hold this hope for peace for our students and community as we work to understand whose experiences and voices are on the periphery of our vision and our hearing. At Crossroads, we represent values that range from the secular to the observant, from the liberal to the conservative. We represent a range of racial and ethnic identities, a range of sexual and gender diversity, and a range of learning styles and preferences. Our families and our histories are various, and our experiences with one another and our community are different. Whether these experiences represent hope or hurt, all of us are affected by them.

I also hold this hope for peace for St. Louis as we continue, as a metropolitan city, to struggle with the intersections of race and place, economics and access, and the equitable distribution of resources for the quality of education of all students in the region. I hold this hope for peace for our nation as I think of communities experiencing excruciating grief after mass shootings, the burning of churches with predominantly African American congregations, and overt or implicit acts or words of hate. And I hold this hope for peace for our world, for Israel, for the middle east, and for other places or countries whose borders or people are fraught with danger and violence.

As a community, Crossroads has established itself as diverse, and I believe that the work of greater inclusivity is our next challenge. Just as I have written about here and here previously, our work together about how to include, make space, listen, and learn across this diversity, across a range of issues and beliefs, takes a great deal of humility, vulnerability, and trust. I believe that together, if we hold on to one another, we can do this. We can do the work of making a peaceful world with one another and then trust the leadership and problem solving of our students whom we send into the world to do the same for communities outside of our own.

My experience of learning about and collaborating across differences is that it is slow, arduous, and occasionally perilous. Yet, I believe, strongly, that learning and relationships deserve time and grace and patience. So I ask that you be generous with me now as I am sure I have missed some people or some place that also deserves our attention and our hope. I ask that you trust that peace is abundant enough for every season and moment and that wherever and whatever peace you cultivate during this season and moment will serve our Crossroads community and beyond.

With great expectations,
Jason