A Message from the Head: Reflections on Orlando

Jason HeissererUncategorized

Friends,

I’ve spent a great deal of time the last few days thinking about the shooting that occurred in Orlando, Florida. I am grieved and frightened to be writing again about the deaths of innocent folks in places that are supposed to be safe for them. I continue to feel small in comparison to the systems of fear and violence that contribute to such atrocities.

The shooting at Pulse in Orlando is situated at the intersection of many difficult things like race, gender and sexual identity, religious and national affiliations, and how we name, prioritize, and live out our values and rights. Even without the murders in Orlando on Sunday, the stress of being yourself and having a voice can be weighty on our students and community members who find that they identify themselves or are the family or friends of those who represent the various identities caught up in this tragedy. This is why I am writing today. I want us to be able to attend to one another as we try make sense of this massacre.

I wish that it was not difficult to name and live in our identities, to gather in communities where we find mirrors, and to gather in communities where difference is treated with decency. I believe that Crossroads is a place where inclusivity confers dignity. I believe that we are a place where we understand that race, gender and sexual identity, religious and national affiliations, and how we name, prioritize, and live out our values and rights affects our history and our relationships. I believe that we can be honest in this slow and arduous work because we will be a better school and community for it and because the communities in which our alumni participate will be made different and better as a result.

In the meantime, I ask that you reach out to those who are like you and to those who are different from you. I ask that you listen to understand and empathize. I ask that you ask brave questions and talk about what you see, feel, and experience with courage, even if what you say seems bold or frightening. We will be a better community when we return to school in August for having reached out in this way, and our commitment to one another, to social justice, and to the diversity and inclusivity stated in our mission will be stronger. In short, we will be better allies and friends.

Finally, if there is any support I might offer, if my listening will be helpful, I am available to you.

With great expectations,
Jason