A letter from Head of School Tao Smith ’90, P’23 in response to the Atlanta Shootings.
Dear Gould Community,
In the wake of yet another unconscionable act of violence, ignorance, and hate, I write from a place of deep sympathy for those who are grieving after the attack on Tuesday evening in Atlanta, leaving eight people dead. Of the victims, six were of Asian descent and seven were women. This murder is a horrific and tragic continuation of racist and misogynistic behavior specifically targeting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in America. I want our students, families, and employees of Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander [AAPI] descent to know that we stand in solidarity with you now and always.
Stand Against Hate
In the past year alone, there have been more than 3,800 anti-Asian recorded racist incidents in America, most against women. As a community, we pledge to develop a system of accountability to call out this behavior and educate toward justice. In truth, this is a conversation that we should have initiated long ago, sending a stronger message of support earlier to our Asian and AAPI families. We will be working intentionally to address this issue at Gould and within the Bethel community, with the goal of ensuring safe and protected spaces for our students, employees, neighbors, and friends.
Hatred, in all forms, is destructive and senseless; we must continue to strive for a society that treats everyone with dignity and respect. We must be united in our opposition to hate and fear, and as a school will combat these negative energies with positive action borne from our shared Gould values. An act of hatred toward anyone in our community because of their race, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, or politics is unacceptable and antithetical to what we stand for.
Our mission is to prepare academically motivated students for college and help them to become independent-minded, ethical citizens who will lead lives of purpose, action, excellence, and compassion in a dynamic world.
Time for Action
On Thursday night, our DEI student leaders wrote a strong piece mourning the victims and condemning the Atlanta shooting. (See below) On Saturday afternoon, students participated in a “Chalk Talk,” writing expressions of love and support around campus. We will have adult and student leaders available throughout the weekend and next week to talk with any students seeking answers or reassurance, and the students plan to lead a “Community Conversation” followed by a candlelight vigil outside Hanscom Hall on Tuesday evening, one-week since the tragic event.
Purpose. Action. Excellence. Compassion. Please join me in appreciation for the swift and compassionate response from our students. As a community, let us join in opposition to hate, and in our commitment to shared values.
With hope and humility,
Tao Smith ’90, P’23
Head of School
Student DEI response to the murders in Atlanta
On behalf of the DEI Student Group at Gould, we would like to express our vehement stance against the hate crimes committed in Atlanta this week. We as a student group, founded on the ideals of diversity, equity, inclusion believe that it is our duty as students to unify under a common understanding of how tragedies such as these hate crimes must come to an end. We believe that the historical fetishization of Asian women must be taken into account. We see how many headlines don’t even mention that Asian massage parlors were targeted. We are standing up for the need within the media and our society to be held accountable and call the incidents what they are: Acts of targeted White supremacy against Asian women in domestic terrorist-focused hate crimes. It is our duty as privileged students, staff, and faculty to educate ourselves and our peers about hate crimes such as these against Asian American women and Asian culture.
Let us not push aside the fact that not only has the Asian American community historically been dealt harsh culture disparities but since the pandemic started over a year ago, the Asian American community has been battling a surge in hate crimes. The importance of not only an awareness of these events and statistics but a unified stance and speak out against them is essential as we come together as a community.
We urge not only the student body, but also the staff, faculty, and administration to hold ourselves and others accountable for our biases and actions upon marginalized communities, including those affected by the crimes in Atlanta this week. It is our pledge to actively create a more Just, Equitable, and Free Human Experience.
Community Conversation & Vigil for the Atlanta ShootingsTuesday, March 23
6:30 pm – Community Conversation, Sanborn Family Library
7:15 pm – Vigil at the Hanscom FlagpoleFurther reading on how to get involved from our student DEI GroupNew York Times
coverage (updated on an hourly basis)How to help – Time.com