Over the past several months, school and college campuses across America have seen increased examples of language that is offensive, and often racially, sexually, or ethnically discriminatory. There is no place for that at GFA, and I want to emphasize our dedication to rejecting discrimination and the marginalization of certain groups. At GFA we cherish the strength and diversity of our community, and I want to take the opportunity to reaffirm our core values in the light of recent events.
At our Convocation in September, I talked about what it means to be members of a community, especially a school like GFA whose motto is Each for All, where we actively look after each other. I also talked about our school-wide focus on inclusion, meaning that every individual in our community is viewed as equal. We value all GFA students, appreciate differences, and encourage our students to celebrate one another.
Post-election emotions on both sides have run high. As a community of learners at GFA, we foster critical thinking as well as empathy; we support intellectual integrity and courage, and we encourage respectful disagreement and debate. But that debate cannot come at the expense of other values: fostering empathy, valuing difference, and building an inclusive community. GFA is a safe place for all, where discrimination in any shape is antithetical to our core values and will not be tolerated.
It takes time and thoughtfulness to build inclusivity. It happens at the Harkness Table and during talks from the stage or in the Forum. It happens on the playing fields and when standing by lockers in between classes. It happens in the cafeteria and it also happens at home when discussing the events of the day.
I call on all of us to be thoughtful about inclusivity. It doesn’t mean we all agree, but we do show respect. GFA’s core values of Passion, Integrity, Empathy, Curiosity, and Excellence have never been more important.