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A Message from the Head of School re Violence in Charlottesville, Va.

Friends, we share this letter from our Head of School, Kirk Smothers, in response to the violence in Charlottesville, VA.

August 17, 2017

Dear Friends,

At this point in the summer, I normally write a letter announcing new faculty and giving a preview of the school year to come. That letter will go out soon, but today I write as a leader of the Delaware Valley Friends School community and a citizen of our nation out of concern after the tragic and alarming incidents in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend and related trends we are seeing in our country. The central value of Delaware Valley Friends School, which guides every aspect of our program, is that all people share an Inner Light; everyone has infinite inherent worth.

White supremacists, neo-Nazis, white nationalists, and others have been emboldened in recent months to come out of the shadows and spread messages of hatred and intolerance. Last weekend, members of these groups travelled to Charlottesville and led a torchlight march chanting anti-Semitic, homophobic, xenophobic, and racist epithets that was reminiscent of a time that our nation had thought was behind us. The next day, after a hate-filled protest, a brave and outspoken counterprotester was murdered and nineteen others injured when a white supremacist drove at high speed through a crowd, in a scene that was eerily similar to terrorists who have used automobiles as weapons in Nice, France and elsewhere.

Many of our elected leaders spoke out from both sides of the aisle immediately to condemn the racist groups. John McCain, Barack Obama, Orin Hatch, Terry McAuliffe and others who rarely stand on the same sides of political debates have been unified in their assertion that we must not quietly sit by when racist rhetoric and violence are presented. Our president's responses in the time since Charlottesville have been equivocal, however, which has further emboldened extremist leaders such as David Duke.

Even before Charlottesville, our nation still had a long way to go before realizing the ideal of inclusion and equity that we work toward every day at DV and in countless other communities of conscience in America. While such work often involves the proverbial two steps forward and one step back, as a nation, a school, and individuals we must not idly stand by to allow a tremendous leap backward. At Delaware Valley Friends School, we reaffirm that we welcome and are enriched by having community members of many races, religions, gender identities, sexual orientations, and political views. We embrace our role to teach that love is the way forward, and I encourage all people of conscience to speak out and affirm that one of America's greatest assets is its diversity.

In Friendship,

Kirk Smothers
Head of School
Delaware Valley Friends School

Posted by kelly in Head of School, News, Current Events on Thursday August, 17, 2017 at 04:20PM

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Delaware Valley Friends School
19 E. Central Avenue, Paoli, Pennsylvania 19301
Phone: 610.640.4150
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