10 Jun Black Lives Matter
At Woodstock School we absolutely stand against the terrible injustice perpetrated on George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department, as well as ongoing structural racism that persists in America. We also stand with all of the protesters who are highlighting these ever-apparent injustices and inequalities not just in the U.S. but around the globe. This is a time to stand in empathy and courage with all those who are oppressed with any system that uses power to kill, maim, or suppress.
This situation, where people of colour are oppressed and die at the hands of the white hegemon, has been played out countless times over countless years. But the interconnected world we live in means we are now all witnesses to these events. We all saw George Floyd die. It is not just the perpetrator and the victim that play roles in this. As citizens, as educators, as students, we have the power to say, ‘no more’.
I personally worked for eight years in South Minneapolis in the same neighbourhood where George Floyd was murdered, and my heart breaks for him and for the community of South Minneapolis. This neighbourhood is one of the richest in terms of diversity across the whole of the U.S. but is characterised by challenges including gross levels of inequality and economic injustice. My work there was in training university students in being bridge builders and peacemakers, living and working within the neighbourhood to make a positive difference in the lives of others while addressing persistent structural inequalities. Some have gone on to making the fight against injustice and discrimination their life’s vocation in locales all over the world.
We put these same attributes at the heart of a Woodstock School education. We have strength in our diversity, and the heart of our educational vision is to elicit from our students an awareness of the wider world and the ability to transcend cultural, religious, and socio-economic difference in pursuit of the common good. But we recognise that this alone is not enough.
We want all our black community members to know that you are loved, respected and valued, and that we stand with you in this fight for social justice. We stand against racial discrimination, economic injustice and violence. We acknowledge the devastating consequences of systemic discrimination based on race, caste and religious prejudice in India and across the world. We are committed, as an institution, to listening, to learning, and to working for a future where all people are respected and can live without fear. We will work as a community of educators and students to find ways in which we can raise voices of difference on campus, as we seek to embody the values we hold dearly in policies and practice.
Every one of us has to be actively involved in this fight against discrimination and injustice. Only by working together can we confine these atrocities to history. We must all be bridge builders and peacemakers.
Craig Cook, Principal
U Kyaw Win, Class of 1951Posted at 21:59h, 16 June
A courageous expression of the heart. Proud to be a Woodstock Tiger. “We are here to add what we can to life, not to get what we can from it. (Sir William Osler, a founder of Johns Hopkins University Medical School.). Regardless of how we garb ourselves. what we eat. and where we live and in what tradition we express our humanity, we are, like the waters of the world, ONE. Water in its purest form is tasteless, colorless, odorless. A line cannot be drawn across its surface. It refuses to be divided. Let justice, mercy, and humility be the points of our compass as we navigate the deep waters of our voyage. We are all visitors on this planet.
Glenys Margaret MatherPosted at 14:17h, 17 June
Thank you for your stand against injustice and discrimination which are endemic throughout the world. Concluding with a call for me to be actively involved in opposing both atrocities in my own country, New Zealand, while working together with others as a bridge builder and peacemaker is an inspirational challenge.
Philip Wellons '60Posted at 22:36h, 18 June
Thanks to the Principal for this statement about Black Lives Matter. The scale and scope of world reaction tells us how close our lives weave together, how evil the efforts to stir up centuries-long racial injustices, how futile to try to withdraw the U.S. from the world. Woodstock is right to signal, this way, its commitment to preparing students for a complex world that is both marvelous and frightening in its diversity.
Dr. Cook spent 8 years in southern Minneapolis. One learns a lot from such a long service. His message would be essential even if it only demonstrated – as it does – how tight the ties are that bind us together whatever our race (and whatever race means). Who would have imagined that a school perched on the edge of the Himalayas would be guided by a person who, in a time of crisis, can tap experience in a distant terrain that now symbolizes the vicious tenacity of American racism?
Helen Arnott '60Posted at 03:10h, 15 July
No country is free of the violence of racism. Thank you for reminding us of our better selves, Dr. Cook.