BVA’s Open Letter to the Latin Community


Black Voices in America Seniors 2018-2019 Dear Latin Community, In the words of distinguished black author Alice Walker, “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any. It’s time we had a conversation about being complacent and Latin’s power dynamic. Maybe you thought your individual actions couldn’t ameliorate large issues about equity within our community. But we must listen to black voices like Alice Walker, who teach us that remaining silent about toxic systems is just as toxic as the systems themselves. Latin is special because we, the students, have the power to change our community. We have the power to use both our voices and ears to make the small changes that can make our school and the lives of those within it better. We must ask ourselves who we surround ourselves with — who do you talk to? Who are the people you never think about talking to? Why? We must try to think outside of the expectations and norms that consume how we live. You can’t know what you don’t know, but you also can’t unknow what you know. Our own internal resistance is partially what blocks us. Maybe you’ve never questioned your place at Latin. Maybe you’re represented in the faculty, staff, and administrators. There are people that look like you, talk like you, and think like you. But we must reach out to those that are different to recognize our differences. We also have to acknowledge the humanity in one another, not only as Romans but as humans. The extent to which we treat each other with respect and empathy. It’s important to self reflect, to empathize, and to be mindful. To clear your mind of what you may feel right now.  We must learn to be better at self-reflection. Listen to one another. Listen. Your silence is sometimes more powerful than dominating a conversation. Make room for others, in and out of the classroom. Amplify, don’t tell the narrative that isn’t yours. And in the words of black author James Baldwin: “if the word integration means anything, this is what it means: that we, with love, shall force our brothers to see themselves as they are, to cease fleeing from reality and begin to change it.” We want equality; however, we perpetuate inequality through our microaggressions and comments. But also, through our inaction. We must notice this reality and open our minds to disband ignorance and overcome inequality. With Love, English 12: Black Voices in America Andrea Avila, Olivia Baker, Lily Campbell, Cici Carr, Siena Craigie, Anwar Mohammed, Stephanie Racker, Rachel Sinar, Bianca Voss, Kelsey Watkins, Thomas Wiggin, and Anna Wolf.]]>