An Independent School • Grades 5-12

by Aidan C. '20, Upper School Student Government president

Student Government president Aidan C. '20 shared the following message with Upper School students on Monday, June 1. Aidan is pictured above, speaking to the community in September at convocation.

As the representative for students on campus, I wanted to address current events in our nation with all of you. You’ve seen the news. You’ve hopefully had the opportunity to reflect on current events. I know that some of you have gone out protesting. George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor are sadly just a small fraction of names on a very long list.

The past few weeks I’ve found myself feeling incredibly sorrowful, angry, and scared. This past weekend was especially hard for me. I constantly ask myself: When will this end? When will being born black stop being a crime? When will people stop blaming Asian Americans for an epidemic affecting ALL of us. It's important to note that this is nothing new. We are witnessing the culmination of decades worth of racism in this country. To people of color, know that you have people (including myself) who are here for you. You are not alone. To white students, it’s time to be the allies and accomplices you’ve been training to be. We need to come together and mobilize peacefully.

Below, I have made a list of more things YOU can do to BEGIN taking action. I want to stress that the examples provided here will only serve as an introduction. The choice to delve deeper into these issues is up to you. The items listed provide ways to learn, unlearn, help, and start conversations. ... If racism isn’t something you have to think about every day, I especially hope you decide to take at least ten minutes out of your day to explore this list. I implore you to participate.

Having spent plenty of time in the Lakeside community, I know one thing for sure. We’re a family. The difference between a community and a family is in love and support. One of the best ways to show support is to say something when you see something. Have productive discussions with friends and family. Check in with people you care about. Continue to express your emotions and ideas through your passions. Most importantly, there is no room for hate towards anyone. None. Don’t let negativity win. Let’s keep spreading the love!

Begin taking action
  1. blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/
  2. To sign the petition, you can text "FLOYD" to the number 55156.
Articles
  1. TIME Magazine: “George Floyd’s Murder Shows Once More That We Cannot Wait For White America to End Racism.”
  2. The New York Times: “Remember No One Is Coming to Save Us.”
  3. NPR: “George Floyd Described As A 'Gentle Giant' By Friends.”
  4. The Atlantic: “The Case for Reparations.”
  5. Britannica: “Racism.”
  6. The Seattle Times: “‘Why does freedom have to come with layers?’ Black queer residents speak out about identity in Seattle.”
  7. Ted Talk: “The Urgency of Intersectionality.”
  8. The New York Times: “Why Amy Cooper’s Use of ‘African American’ Stung.”
  9. TIME Magazine: “Violence Against Asian Americans Is on the Rise—But It’s Part of a Long History.”
  10. NBC News: “Over 30 Percent of Americans Have Witnessed COVID-19 Bias Against Asian Americans, Poll Says.”
Books
  1. "Between the World and Me" by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
  2. "Citizen" by Claudia Rankine.
  3. "So You Want to Talk About Race" by Ijeoma Oluo.
  4. "White Fragility" by Robin DiAngelo.
  5. "A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America" by Ronald Takaki.
Movies/television
  1. Black Klansmen, rated R.
  2. United Against Hate: Asian American Legislators, Activists Discuss the Rise in Anti-Asian Racism, made for all ages.
  3. 13th, rated TV-MA.
  4. When They See Us, rated TV-MA.
  5. Pose, rated TV-MA.
  6. Dear White People (the Netflix series), rated TV-MA.

If you or a loved one is dealing with any struggles due to current events, COVID-19, isolation, or any reason at all, please know that Teen Link is an amazing resource. They provide trained professionals who are there to help you and your mental health. As well, like Ms. Bensadon said in her message to students, your Lakeside counselors are here for you too. I’ll say it again and again. You are not alone.