Dear Cape Henry Community,
Last week, I sent a statement about the need to recommit to our mission to build a diverse and inclusive community at Cape Henry. I need to acknowledge that my statement fell short and has upset people. I wish to be more clear. For me, when I talk about building a more inclusive community, I recognize that being non-racist is not enough in a society where systemic racism exists. We must be anti-racist. We must condemn racism and we must seek to change the policies and practices that preserve it. I want our Black students, our Black faculty and staff, our Black alumni and our Black families to know that I stand with you... as does Cape Henry Collegiate. I join you in saying, "Enough." Racism will not end on its own. It is too ugly and powerful to just fade away. It requires action. A Black life MUST be respected and valued as much as any other life. At Cape Henry, we will commit to our part... to teach, speak and model anti-racism. After all, if one truly reflects on our mission, we can settle for nothing less.
Our Diversity and Inclusivity Committee with our larger faculty and staff will develop actionable steps. While some work has been done over the past years, we are eager to go further. One essential step is for us to re-examine our curriculum to ensure that it is more inclusive. That includes looking at the books we read, the content we cover, and the discussions we facilitate. It also involves us learning together as a faculty and working with students as their input and their ideas are necessary. One of our core values is community and so we must also find additional outreach opportunities for our students in the Hampton Roads area. It will take a little time to fully develop this plan, and include different voices, but it begins this week with an open conversation with the faculty.
Over the past several days, I have had the opportunity to hear from students, faculty, parents and alumni about their experiences. While they have shared disappointments, they have also expressed a dedication and commitment to this school community. Your letters, conversations and videos have had more impact than you could know. Your partnership will help us to truly live our mission at Cape Henry.
Christopher S. Garran, Ph.D.
Head of School