Dear Darlington Community,
The last weeks and months have been incredibly challenging for our school, our nation, and the world. We feel anger, sadness, heartbreak, and loss at every turn. We are seeing the pain of the African-American community up close as it plays out in mainstream and social media, likely in ways that many of us have never experienced before and it has been difficult to find the words. The video of the murder of George Floyd is both shocking and chilling. Tears flow at the realization of what we are seeing both literally, a white police officer with his knee on the back of the neck of a black man as his colleagues watch, and figuratively, as a representation of years of injustice.
Recent acts of violence against members of the African-American community have shaken us to our core. While we believe that Darlington has provided an educational foundation that has allowed many Darlington alumni and students to be highly engaged citizens committed to enhancing the greater good, we know that we can improve so that all of our students are able to do their small part in stopping this cycle. We have never claimed to be a perfect place and have certainly had challenges related to race, inclusivity, and commitment to social justice. As an educational institution committed to a lofty mission, we can do better and we must do better.
We condemn racism. We oppose hate and discrimination and acts that promote them. We believe we are all created equal and that every life has equal value. We know that a commitment to Wisdom More Than Knowledge, Service Beyond Self, and Honor Above Everything requires an empathetic heart and a desire to understand the world through the eyes of others. We will strive every day to love our neighbor.
We have a real opportunity to be different and to make a difference. The first thing we must do is listen. I am grateful for our young alumni for sharing their feelings and hopes. Thank you for your heartfelt message. This spring, Darlington would have celebrated its 115th graduating class; however, our history notes that it was not until 1974 that our first graduate of color received a Darlington diploma. While much has changed at the school since Elson Floyd graduated, the racial make-up of our senior leadership has remained consistent. We need your help, we need your wisdom, we need your guidance to help us see a more complete picture. Will you help us? We would love your thoughts and ideas regarding how we properly engage in conversation and move that conversation to action. Please feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Darlington stands with the African-American members of our community, and all communities -- whether communities of color, national origin, citizenship, and gender. While we will never fully understand, please know that we care about you and love you. We remain committed to each individual student, to understanding their story, to a constant desire for improvement, and to being a place where love and empathy matters most.
Brent Bell, Head of School
Bob Hortman (‘72), Chairman of the Board of Trustees