Prior to the event, the organizers were asked to answer questions about their efforts and the video can be seen here.
As the world is opening up about the tragic and unnecessary death of George Floyd and those that came before him, discussions about racism and its presence in society are taking place across the country as protests continue in every major city. As has always been the case, students lead efforts to spark change and work towards a better future. More than 80 people joined an open forum Google Meet discussion for Upper School students, led by Tatiana Batson ‘21, Gabbi Colicchio ’21, Clare Haas ‘21, and Siobhan Jones ’21.
“The four of us see a future that is absent of inequality; we decided to start this discussion to continue paving the road of those who came before us, to ensure a more equal future for those who come after,” said the organizers.
Just a day after the final Wave Parade was held on campus, the enormous attendance showed a great deal of passion from the Upper School students, who voluntarily wanted to be part of the discussion and listen to what others had to say.
The students leading the discussion posed questions to the group, such as “Do you think race is a factor in police brutality?” The questions, which gave anyone present the opportunity to respond, spanned issues such as white privilege, the role of the police, and racism, as well as the Black Lives Matter movement and what that, along with Blue Lives Matter and All Lives Matter movements, meant to people.
Towards the end of the discussion, the issue of politics was brought up, and the students decided that racial inequality was not a political issue, but a human rights issue. The final question fielded on the call was, “How can we better support the black community at Ranney?”
Siobhan answered that question by telling her peers to check on their friends of color, to be an ally, to post support on social media, and just to be aware of what everyone may be going through during these difficult times.
“We are incredibly pleased with the outcome of today's discussion,” said Clare. “We had many more people than we expected, and the conversation flowed well with students and faculty members speaking civilly about different points of view on the issues of racism, criminal justice, police brutality, etc. We heard different opinions on the Black Lives Matter and other movements. We are hopeful that we were able to enlighten those who didn't know much about BLM, and create more advocates for ending racial inequality. It was truly refreshing to be able to have such a calm discussion about a controversial topic in this unfortunately polarized time. We were able to highlight that the issue of racism is not a political issue, but instead it is a human rights issue of which we must all come together on. Our goal from here is to continue the discussion through our media platforms, and we hope that members of the Ranney community will continue the conversation we had today with their friends and families, both inside and outside of school.”
Upper School Head and Assistant Head of School, Dr. Martin, who helped moderate the call, thanked the organizers and said how proud he was of all of the students for participating and engaging in such a constructive and respectful conversation. He also acknowledged the need for an ongoing dialogue and action within the community on issues of racial inequality. Diversity Committee advisors Ms. Marie Curry, Mr. Mark DiGiovanni, and Dr. Nicole Martone, who helped to coordinate the forum, were also on the call, along with Head of School Dr. John Griffith and several other faculty members.
The four students who put the forum together have created their own Instagram account @SameHate_DifferentTime.
Below are some links that were shared on the chat during the Google Meet: