How do we develop a network of mutuality? How do we remain true to our mission and provide space for a range of differences, whether those are differences in identity or ideology? How do we practice listening and empathy? These questions have been on my mind as the result of a few conversations this week, and I have two simple suggestions for supporting our work in response to them.
It is developmentally appropriate for young people to debate, to take strong stands, and to differentiate identities, ideas, and relationships. Our Crossroads students aren’t any different in this regard; however, I want to make sure that these debates and strong stands are not to the detriment of our students’ experience and relationships here. I am writing about it today because it seems, in some cases and based on some conversations this past week, that it is.
So I am asking that we take time with our friends, peers, and family members to remind ourselves and one another that it takes all of us to be the network of mutuality called Crossroads College Prep. All of us contribute and all of us are affected when one of us does not experience the space to be, to learn, to think, or to question differently. One way to do this is to think about those who are and are not in your most immediate circles and those who are and are not most like you in some regard. Then remind yourself that all of these people, close or distant, similar or different, participate in network of mutuality at Crossroads. This makes them necessary to who we are so we must attend to them with kindness and empathy.
I am also asking that we take some time to think about who is and who is not in your circle of concern. I believe that our students and community members have the capacity to consider and to include all of the diversity represented in our Crossroads community. I also believe that the work of equity and inclusion must be done with intention and vigilance. We must not stop reminding ourselves of this, and we must continue to remind each other: “You are in my circle of concern.”
I will also do this work. If you are reading this, you are a part of the network of mutuality that Crossroads is and aspires to be. If you are reading this, you are in my circle of concern: if you call out, I will respond, and if you reach out, I will reach back. I believe the same of you as well.
With great expectations,