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July 10, 2020
Dear Members of the Ransom Everglades Community,
In the weeks since the killing of George Floyd, our nation as a whole, including members of our own community, has been engaged in conversation and reflection about racism and racial injustice. On Juneteenth-June 19th, the RE Black alumni community sent an unambiguous letter to us, outlining their concerns and suggestions for change. During two subsequent virtual town halls, these members of our community shared their recollections of acts of discrimination and racism from their days on RE’s campuses. We acknowledge these experiences, and we are deeply moved. We are grateful to those who stepped forward.
All students must have the opportunity to thrive and flourish in an inclusive learning environment, free from all forms of discrimination and racism. We are more committed than ever to ensuring that our school embraces an inclusive mindset with equality of opportunity. We are resolute in our efforts to be a school that not only does not tolerate racism but also takes steps to eradicate it in all its forms.
In recent years we have prioritized the promotion and funding of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives throughout our community. We fully accept that we must accelerate our efforts. We will continue our work in partnership with our Black alumni, and we write today to update you on Ransom Everglades’ most recent efforts.
On June 11, as our nation grappled with this moment of reckoning, the Ransom Everglades Board of Trustees met and:
Formed a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee that is chaired by Betsy Murphy. Three years ago the board created the Student Life and Inclusion Committee, which undertook the work of engaging our community in diversity, equity and inclusion. This new committee will build on those initiatives.
Charged the newly formed Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee with creating a task force that will consider what Ransom Everglades can do to address any possible form of racism in our school and greater community. The Anti-Racism Task Force will provide information and counsel to the school’s leadership and the Ransom Everglades Board of Trustees and will develop an action plan in conjunction with the DEI Committee and the Board of Trustees. The task force will include representatives from all constituencies and is co-chaired by Director of Inclusion and Community Engagement Carla Hill and board member Stephanie Dua P'22 '24 '27. If you are interested in serving on this task force please fill out this form.
Approved the promotion of Carla Hill, Director of Inclusion and Community Engagement, to the senior leadership team.
Subsequent to the June 11 board meeting:
The Board of Trustees named James Weaver ’90 Co-chair of the Ransom Everglades Alumni Association along with Enrique Conde ’97. James will become an ex-officio member of the Board of Trustees.
The faculty began to inventory the curriculum of both the middle and upper schools with respect to diversity, equity and inclusion, identifying where the curriculum cultivates a sense of belonging among all students and where it can be improved. This summer’s work will be used to inform curricular decisions moving forward, again ensuring that an inclusive and anti-racist mindset is developed in all our students.
Ransom Everglades will deploy the National Association of Independent Schools’ Assessment of Inclusivity and Multiculturalism, which will help us assess the climate of inclusion on our campuses in order to shape and advance strategic equity goals. The results of the survey will be turned over to the Anti-Racism Task Force.
The Admission Office will make certain that the admission process for all applicants is equitable and inclusive and will continue to work to increase the pool of Black applicants. To that end, we are adding an additional associate to the Admission Office staff. This new employee will bring to Ransom Everglades his experience as a DEI faculty alliance member at his former independent school, and he will also coach. When the hiring process is complete, we will introduce him to the community.
Ransom Everglades will continue to diversify our employee population, and we will enhance our support of our Black faculty, staff and administrators.
Ransom Everglades’ senior leadership team of 11 members will jointly attend a five-day summer workshop this month at the Klingenstein Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College, entitled: Anti-Oppression Teaching and Leading in Schools.
The summer reading assigned to faculty and administration is Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates and White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo. The books were selected by the faculty DEI Committee.
RE will continue to curate the DEI resources found under the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion tab on the home page of our website.
We will build on the three pillars proposed by the RE Black Alumni:  REcruitment, REtention and REsponsibilty.
We all must embrace the discomfort and come up with a clear and actionable direction for our work. We also know that we must work harder to connect all members of the community and most especially the Black members of our community. We are better together, not apart, and if our work is to be sustainable, we must join forces. We will do this work together.
Best regards,
Jeffrey J. Hicks '84, P'21
Chair of the Board
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