Statement Regarding Racial Injustice

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. King spoke these words in February 1968, just two months before he was assassinated. By that time, he had led the Civil Rights Movement through many disappointments. His message to us, however, was that when we are working for what is right, we must never give up hope that we can achieve our goal.

In this moment of national reckoning about the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and all those before them, we can experience so many emotions: despair, outrage, disappointment, and even uncertainty about exactly how to feel. As the country makes a collective shift from outrage toward action, Parker School chooses to embrace Dr. King’s call for infinite hope coupled with his legendary calls for direct and sustained action.

As educators, our goal is to empower students to reach their full potential as they grow into leaders in our communities. It is our responsibility to provide them with the tools and the confidence to solve the big and small problems in society. Systemic racism is one of the big problems. It has paralyzed this country’s ability to fulfill its promises of equal justice under the law and equitable access to all that life has to offer.

Parker School cannot claim to be preparing tomorrow’s leaders unless we actively build an understanding of the ways that a history of public policy and institutional decision-making has created and sustains racial inequality both within this nation broadly, and right here in our beloved Hawai’i. We also acknowledge that to fully understand the pervasive nature of inequality, students must learn how racial biases impact perspectives and behaviors in ways that we may not even realize.

We commit to ensuring that our students have curricular and co-curricular opportunities to learn all of this and to learn that because inequality has been designed into society, it is possible to re-design society to achieve racial equity. And, in order to help students obtain the skills to examine their own biases and the confidence to move society toward equity, we commit to providing opportunities for students to learn how to engage in meaningful dialogue about race and learn how to use their voice for productive social change.

We commit to examining our current policies and practices and provide staff with professional opportunities and resources to support their own learning about these issues and to enhance our capacity to serve all of our students to the fullest.

Through these commitments, we will help shape future leaders who know they have the power to re-design society and help this country finally live up to its ideals. We hold infinite hope for a better, more equitable future, and we will take action to make sure that the Parker School ‘Ohana is progressing towards this goal.

We know that accountability to our commitments will be important. Please look forward to our plans for the coming year in further updates this summer.