Talking About Race

At Lowell, we dedicate ourselves to upholding social justice and practicing equity and inclusion. Including and valuing diverse voices and perspectives in both our reflective thinking and our curriculum are at the core of this community.
Lowell’s Mission and Philosophy prepares us to stand up and walk together, especially when we are hurt and challenged by the pain our society continues to experience. Our responsibility as a school that strives to create an intentionally inclusive community in which every individual belongs demands that the Lowell School community engage in self-reflection and hold ourselves accountable to a new standard of action. This work is ongoing. We encourage people to contact our DEI team at  LowellDEI@lowellschool.org to share their stories and ideas.

Letters to the Community

List of 3 items.

  • Derek Chauvin Trial

    April 20, 2021

    Dear Lowell Families,
     
    Upon hearing the news that the jury for the Derek Chauvin trial had gone into deliberation, my heart felt a familiar sense of déja vu. We have been here before—too many times.
     
    Since the horrific events of January 6th, this year has been filled with outrage, tragedy, and sadness, from the deaths of Daunte Wright in Minnesota and Adam Toledo in Chicago to the rise in violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and the recent spate of mass shootings. One has to wonder if the trial’s outcome will lead to more unrest and violence regardless of the jury’s decision.
     
    Graphic accounts of violence permeate the news and our social media feeds, and the raw emotions are palpable. None of us are immune, including our children. You have heard me say before that children are always listening and carefully watching, taking their cues from us on what and how to feel. Processing events like the ones we are experiencing is difficult, even for adults, especially in an intentionally inclusive environment such as the Lowell community, where different people will have different experiences and feelings. This makes our work supporting children in processing their thoughts and feelings in the coming days, weeks, and months necessary and important. For these reasons, I hope you find this list of resources and tips helpful as you and your family process the verdict of the trial:
     
     
    In the classrooms of Lowell School, we are prepared to address these issues with sensitivity and care. As a school, we remain committed to listening to the voices of our students, emphasizing the deep conceptual understanding children need to make sense of the world around them, and supporting the growth of students who advocate for equity and justice. Similarly, we are committed to partnering with our families to help you through these troubling times. Please feel free to contact your child’s division director or division counselor (Aline Anders, Pre-Primary and Primary Counselor; Teryn Gilmore, Middle School Counselor) should you have any questions or need support in the days to come.
     
    “Our unity is our strength, and our diversity is our power.” Let us move through these next days and weeks, keeping Vice-President Kamala Harris’ words in our hearts, minds, and actions. Our children deserve nothing less. I am proud to be present for them, with you.
     
    Sincerely,
     
    Donna
  • George Floyd

    June 1, 2020

    Dear Lowell Families,
     
    I have struggled all weekend trying to decide what to say to you, my school community, about the events surrounding the lives of Christian Cooper and George Floyd, and the violence that has gripped our country. I want my words to hold the gravitas of a head of school, but first and foremost, this is personal for me. Like you, I have watched the news reports, although sparingly, with a mixture of emotions rooted in my identities as a black mother and the wife of a black man. While I did check in briefly with my son, Sam, after learning of the incident involving Cooper in Central Park, it was upon hearing the initial reports of George Floyd’s death that I called Sam immediately to find out where he was, and to remind him yet again of the rules for staying safe in this world as a young black man. I am scared, and angry, and so, so sad. I feel lucky that my son is visiting me right now. His close physical presence brings me a level of peace during these times that is indescribable, because for me, this is personal.
     
    I consider my responsibilities as your head of school to be personal as well. We are a school with a philosophy and values that include diversity, equity, and inclusion. As a progressive school, our commitment to educating our students as citizens of a democracy, to social justice, and to action is woven into our curriculum and the ways we challenge children to make a difference, no matter how small. We prepare them to use their voices in ways that will change the world. But I watch Amy Cooper call the police and pretend she is being attacked by a black man and I wonder: Are we doing enough? The inheritance we are leaving all our children is filled with racism, bigotry, and discrimination. I hear about how George Floyddied, and I ask myself: How do we prepare our students for a world where this is still able to happen? What more can we do now to help them grow into individuals of agency, advocacy, and action so that this no longer happens on their watch?
     
    I don’t have the answers, but I have many ideas. We must confront our own biases. We must discuss the real reasons behind the protests and fires. We must harness our anger, sadness, and fear to teach our students about the systems of oppression that birthed our country hundreds of years ago and exist today. We must be model disruptors of prejudice and discrimination in front of them. We must actively model anti-racism. As a school, we must take steps to ensure that Lowell is living into our values of social justice and action every day. We must support our white students in processing what is happening so that they grow up to be willing co-conspirators in the breaking down of a system that hurts us all. We must create space for the processing of our black students’ emotions right now, particularly our black boys. We must ensure that other students of color are part of the conversation in ways that don’t make their own race-based challenges appear invisible in the moment. And, we must do this together. We do not have a choice; we simply must.
     
    We do so much of this work already at Lowell. Jason and Kavan sent letters to the families in their divisions yesterday, sharing examples of how we engage students in these challenging conversations and providing resources to help guide you in talking with your children. The Pre-Primary School is taking on these topics as well, albeit in very different ways geared toward the ages of our youngest learners. Some of our teachers created space last week for students to talk about what they were hearing and seeing in the news. Our curriculum is designed to engage children in conversations about important and necessary topics year-round. We are doing the work, and we will continue to do so, because we must.
     
    Reading yesterday’s communications, I felt proud, and yet I continue to feel a sense of urgency. This is a time when our integrity must be on display as a school that stands proudly by its commitment to its values. These values are part of our legacy, and our responsibility to our students and each other is one we cannot afford to shirk. We simply cannot rest.
     
    Please join me in ensuring that our students become the change agents of our world, and know how thankful I am for your presence in this wonderful community.
     
    Sincerely,
     
    Donna Lindner
    Head of School
  • Responding to Anti-Asian Violence

    March 18, 2021

    Dear Lowell Community,
     
    Each Friday, as I leave Lowell and begin my drive home, I pass by groups of people on various corners of 16th Street holding Black Lives Matter signs. They have been there faithfully, every Friday, since last summer. People drive by, including me, honking their horns in support. Simultaneously, violence and hate speech targeting Asian Americans and other Asian and Pacific Islanders in the U.S. has been on the rise since the pandemic began. Time magazine has reported that in New York City alone, hate crimes motivated by anti-Asian sentiment increased 1,900 percent in 2020. Increasing violence against Asians and Asian-Americans in our country and our very own Lowell community have left me feeling incredible pain and loss.
     
    Yet, I see no signs of support on corners for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, despite their struggle being one that belongs to all of us. All too often, these incidents go unreported or ignored, reinforcing a sense of invisibility that pours salt in the wound of injustice.
     
    I write to you feeling much as I felt last June when I wrote to you following George Floyd’s death. I write with anger and sadness. We cannot ignore the hate directed toward Asians and Asian Americans in this country. We must stand in solidarity with and raise our collective concern for all people of color. We do this by showing empathy and speaking out against racism in all its forms.
     
    To members of our Lowell community who identify as Asian or Asian American, we see you, stand with you, and stand next to you.
     
    Diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the core of our values as a school. So too is our work to prepare students to be active members of a democratic society. We teach our students to be allies and upstanders, and we teach them to be advocates and make a difference. Most importantly, we do this together, as a community, in partnership with our faculty, staff, and our Lowell families.
     
    We will continue to fight against racism together, and we will do so with a renewed sense of urgency. A world of violence, anger, and fear is not the world we want for our children—or for ourselves.
     
    Know that I hold you and everyone who has felt the impact of this violence and racism in my heart during this difficult time.
     
    In solidarity,
     
    Donna
     
    *For families looking for ways to engage your children in conversation or take action yourselves, I encourage you to take advantage of the following resources:
     
    Anti-Asian Violence Resources
    https://apienc.org/ (Building power and increasing visibility of the non-binary, queer and transgender AAPI community.)
    https://www.apexforyouth.org/ (Providing educational and mentorship opportunities to underserved Asian youth and immigrants.)
    https://asianhealthservices.org/ (Provides health, social, and advocacy services for Asian people.)
    https://stopaapihate.org/ (Tracking and responding to Asian hate crimes.)
    https://www.aaldef.org/ (Protects and promotes civil rights of Asian Americans.)
     
    Social media to follow:

Resources

As we process the range of emotions, it can be hard to know what step to take next. The Lowell community is here for you and with you even as you feel lost, overwhelmed, and unsure about how to take action.

Please use these resources to help process emotions your family may be experiencing and guide conversations with your children.

List of 1 items.

1640 Kalmia Road NW
Washington, DC
20012 202-577-2000
Lowell School is a private PK-8th grade school located in NW Washington, DC. At Lowell students gain the knowledge, skills, and social-emotional literacy to be the bold leaders and creative problem solvers our world needs.