Brooklyn private independent school

Head of School Updates

Berkeley Carroll’s Response to Bias, Racism, and Violence in Our Society

Dear Berkeley Carroll Community,

Many of us learned on Saturday of the racist massacre that targeted a Black community in Buffalo, NY. This horrific crime vividly demonstrates the pervasiveness of anti-Blackness as well as the contagion of hatred.

The dehumanizing language and murderous acts that have been aimed at worshipers in mosques, synagogues, and churches; unleashed on friends in night clubs and summer camps; leveled at individuals in our subways and on our streets are interconnected as are all forms of bias, discrimination and oppression; they are encouraged in the absence of consistent attempts to cultivate spaces of inclusion and belonging.

Within the context of the most recent bias attacks in our city and throughout the nation, our school has spoken out against the hate speech and violence that have been leveled against all too frequently targeted individuals and communities. These atrocities continue to punctuate our lives unabated, making it increasingly difficult to find words to process the fear, anger, and sorrow that they cause. Even as we write this letter, news outlets are reporting on what is being described as a potential hate crime against parishioners in a California congregation who are believed to be primarily of Taiwanese descent. Both history and current events demonstrate that this violence has its antecedents and is not isolated. It is dismaying that our communities continue to experience what can only be described as a form of terrorism; we are made to be frightened for ourselves, our families, our friends, and our neighbors because we continue to live with the reality of people being victimized and killed for who they are.

While painfully aware of this weight, our community must not lose hope and we must not give up the struggle. As this school year comes to a close, we once again affirm that discrimination against and targeting of people and communities because of their race, religion, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, and other identities diminishes our collective humanity and is cruel, destructive, and immoral.

We have just returned from a New York State Association of Independent Schools conference intended to affirm and fortify the work of those in educational institutions who continue to believe in and work toward an expansive view of belonging that rejects racism, antisemitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, and all forms of identity-based bias. The sense of collective purpose that participants felt coming off of this hard but good work with colleagues across the state is not diminished. Through our program and curriculum, Berkeley Carroll will continue to help students, colleagues, and families hone the tools that are required to create a more equitable and just society.

We look forward to our continued partnership, cognizant that we all must work tirelessly, in our schools and in our homes, in the courts and in the streets, to recognize and reject hatred and violence so that we might live fully in friendship, in community, and in peace.

Lisa Yvette Waller, Ph.D.
Head of School

Brandie Melendez
Director of the Office of Equity and Inclusion