Dear Burke's Community,
Black lives matter at Burke’s, as they should everywhere. The stain on our collective American soul that is institutionalized racism has persisted for 400 years (so far) because our white-centric social, economic, and political structures have not allowed for true equality. Unless these attitudes and behaviors are altered, America will continue to fail to deliver on its promise of liberty and justice for all.
In addition to anger, grief, shock, and sadness, the most recent hateful, senseless killings of yet more Black Americans can induce feelings of helplessness — after all, what can we here at Burke’s in San Francisco do about racist killings across the country? One thing we should do is to ask ourselves what actions we as a community can take to disrupt the enduring racism that supports cycles of discrimination and the disenfranchisement of Black people. Then, let's decide to change. Schools in general and Burke’s in particular are in the business of changing attitudes and behavior as we take a values-based approach to educating, encouraging and empowering young women to be future leaders in our society.
Today the members of the Burke’s Board of Trustees are committing to a simple but ambitious goal: we want Burke’s to develop graduates who will leave our campus feeling that it is their personal responsibility not only to refrain from racist behavior but also to actively work to dismantle systemic racism and inequity in all aspects of our culture. We are treating this issue as an emergency because it is an emergency — indeed of the two emergencies we currently face, it is arguably the more severe one, because the threat of Covid-19 will assuredly end, one way or another, whereas racial inequality will never end unless we commit to its demise in ways and to degrees we never have before as a society. To that end, we have created a task force that will work through the summer in concert with Michele Williams and her team and the existing Equity & Inclusion committee to develop a concrete plan to accomplish our stated goal that can be acted upon during the upcoming school year. Please hold us accountable for this critical work. Lastly, we ask all families in our community to stand with us and take whatever action makes sense for you to combat racism and inequity — show your Burke’s girls that this subject is important enough to you to act upon.
Despite the fact that much work needs to be done in this area, you should know that there are many groups across our staff and parent community that have already made significant progress on equity and inclusion matters. If you would like more resources on this topic, please see Michele’s community email from last week.
Burke's Board of Trustees