Message from Blair’s Head of School to Community in Light of Recent Events

Dear members of the Blair community,

Words alone fail to do justice to the depths of injustice, anger, sadness, and despair felt and experienced across the country at this time. I add my voice and my words to the many (though not yet nearly enough or loudly enough) who have publicly denounced racism, hatred, inhumanity and senseless violence. I offer the love and sympathy of the entire Blair community to all who grieve over the horrifying and tragic killing of George Floyd and the unconscionable number of similarly lost lives in the Black community over many years. These events compound the terrible loss of lives and livelihoods during the global pandemic and can, for many, make this time feel like too much to bear.  

Blair stands with and for the diversity, equality, safety, justice and dignity of not just our own community but all communities. Celebrating the diversity that strengthens and distinguishes our school community is important, but it is not enough. Blair's mission is to prepare our students not simply to excel in college but to become impactful and humane citizens of the world who promote genuine understanding and connection and who will bring their intellects, talents, passions and compassion to bear on the greatest public challenges we face, including the scourge of racism.  

While I'm proud of the work our community has done to support and model inclusion and understanding and to teach our students about the history and present day realities of overt and systemic racism, there is much more work required of us if Blair is to more fully fulfill the promise of its mission. Though school is not currently in session, this is a time when Blair needs to support and hear from our community.  

To that end, we will convene an ongoing series of discussion forums on the topic of race in America, with the first focusing on processing currently unfolding events. These discussions will build on and benefit from the work already being undertaken by our Inclusivity Committee, being studied in our courses such as "Race in America," being considered in our Belonging and Martin Luther King Jr.  seminar programs, and the many ways we are exploring one another's perspectives and stories, formally and informally, on and beyond our campus.  

We need brave and thoughtful spaces to share our authentic viewpoints and our collective desire to build a better, safer and more hopeful world. Later this week, I invite you to join me for our first online forum. More details on the date, time and format of our meeting will follow in another communication in the coming days.  

Hopes and prayers are desperately needed and warranted, but themselves are not a strategy for making the world a better place. Educational institutions are powerful drivers of unlocking students’ power and potential to make a difference in ways that honor their values and character. I look forward to coming together, learning together, understanding together and acting together, even if (and especially when) we see the world differently from one another, so we can make it more of the place we aspire to create. Beyond this forum, I encourage you to reach out to me, our faculty and staff and all members of the Blair community whose love and resolve will help us through this painful time.  

Take good care,
Chris Fortunato

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