Dear Masters Community,
I am grateful to those of you who took the time to read my recent opinion piece, “I went to a peaceful protest – it was a sign of hope in a deteriorating America.” There were many people who expressed concern with this article for a variety of reasons. To anyone who I upset, I want to use this platform to respond.
I do not regret publishing my original article. Just like protesters are exercising their first amendment rights, so was I when I wrote it. By going to a protest and publishing the original article I was willing to be vulnerable and reflect on a complicated subject. The Masters School prides itself on being inclusive of a wide-variety of viewpoints, which is why I ask that my views are respected just as much as anyone else’s.
However, I realize everyone, especially members in our community of color, are processing and going through a lot at this point in time. Earlier this week, I attended a community forum during which members of the Masters community shared their thoughts and regarding police brutality and systemic racism; the conversation came in response to the recent murder of George Floyd – the latest in a long line of people of color dying at the hands of the police – that has devastated so many. For over two and a half hours, I listened with an open heart and open mind as my peers and teachers expressed pain, fear and sorrow.
Published the day before that meeting, my original piece was written with good intent. After not only consuming information through the media but attending a protest, I only hoped to answer the many questions that I had at the time and formulate a take-away in writing. My opinion piece reflects my perspective and analysis – though I recognize that it does not mean much to a person of color who fears walking out their front door or driving to school every day or who has experienced years of injustice and struggle in America due to the color of their skin. For my failure to incorporate these very important viewpoints into my reasoning, I apologize for my lack of deeper understanding.
I also understand that one of the most important things I can do at this time is hear others’ voices. From listening directly and by reading the five letters to the editor which were written in response to my original article, I have become better informed on a wide variety of beliefs regarding acceptable forms of protesting and outlooks on our current battle to overcome systemic racism in the United States. While I do not agree with everything that has been said in response to my article, I respect the individuals and their opinions and understand that each and every one of us has our own unique views of the situation at hand that are important to take into account.
This incident will serve as a learning experience for not only me but all people who are struggling to make sense of others’ viewpoints during this time. I certainly learned a lot and I am committed to being more conscious of how others will be affected by my writing moving forward.