HPS superintendent Cavanaugh on racial unrest: ‘Silence cannot serve’

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Hopkinton Public Schools superintendent Carol Cavanaugh emailed the schools community Wednesday morning, as Black Lives Matter protests continue to take place in cities and towns across the nation — including Hopkinton, which held a vigil on the Town Common Sunday evening. Below is the email in its entirety.

Good morning, Hopkinton families:

As the nation continues to struggle with our collective anger, disbelief, disillusionment, and disgust in the wake of the brutal murder of George Floyd at the hands of white law enforcement officials, public schools continue to think about how to raise our voices against the deep racial divides that continue to exist in this country. Silence cannot serve.

We live with systems that sometimes fail us. Justice is parceled out unequally. How do we help our children not to simply understand that — for “understanding” implies a kind of resignation to it — but rather to know how to speak out against it? We must educate our children to ensure that they adhere — in words and actions — to a set of core moral values, values that erode and thwart the attitudes and behaviors that perpetuate racism.  As easy as it might be to ignore the racism that still exists in this country, we cannot. Christian Cooper and Ahmaud Arbery embody the reality that Black skin in America is not what renders people unsafe; rather, deeply held attitudes about Black skin are what render Black Americans unsafe. To change those attitudes, silence will not serve.

Now more than ever our children need us to support them, as parents, as educators, as role models, and as resources. I ask you to affirm for our children that Black Lives Matter. I ask you to support our students of color who may be even more affected by the video footage they have witnessed in recent days. I ask you to talk openly with your children, as is developmentally appropriate. This is a country calling for justice. Let us answer the call with education and empowerment. Let’s end the silence.

Over the next two weeks, our school counselors are available to respond to students’ needs. I remain hopeful that the power of our voices and the strength of our humanity can prevail. We are Hopkinton. A community of voice and strength.

Most sincerely,

Carol Cavanaugh

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