The events of these past two weeks are almost impossible to talk about. Not because they are new -- anti-Black racism is not new; urban uprisings are not new. They are difficult to talk about precisely because they are so old, so tired. As James Baldwin reminded us in 1972: “Nothing has altered in America, except that white people have simply raised the price, and raised it so high that fewer and fewer black people will be willing to pay it.”
We need to understand the contours of the past, but we cannot stay there. When asked about the future, Baldwin responded, “I'm optimistic about the future, but not about the future of this civilization. I'm optimistic about the civilization which will replace this one.” His words, as always, are still vitally relevant. We need to be attuned to what’s next, to prepare for it and to bring it into being. This may be the most important role we can play as educators--to cheer for our students as they envision the future, to give them the skills and the strength to welcome it.
As we finish this quarter and look to summer and fall, our students need us more than ever. What can we do to support them? Julie Russo recently offered some advice for extending grace to students as we wrap this challenging quarter. Additionally, new temporary policy adjustments to ensure equitable access to learning and limits to academic standing and the required leave of absence policy were recently announced.
All of us have done the unthinkable this quarter, while running on empty in terms of our time and energy (especially those of you caring for loved ones). Our work simply cannot continue at the same pace--though many of our staff colleagues will be plowing ahead with few breaks throughout the coming months. Summer institute registrations have far exceeded our expectations, and we’re thrilled that we’ll be continuing to learn with so many of you in those workshops. Connecting with each other while increasing our collective skill set is one crucial way to get ready for the future we want. At the same time, we honor those of you who are taking a break from Evergreen work for a little while.
What can we do to prepare ourselves to renew our enthusiasm for our work? We are eager to chew on that question with you, and are here to support you, however you answer it.
-- Elizabeth & JuliA