Message from Mirko Chardin: March 18, 2021

Message from Mirko Chardin: March 18, 2021
Posted on 03/18/2021

Dear Putnam Ave. Students and Families,

It saddens me to be sharing another letter like this with you this year. As many of you are aware on Tuesday night in Atlanta a mass shooting took place, where eight people were killed; 6 of the people shot were Asian women. Since the start of the pandemic there has been a 150% increase in Anti-Asian attacks and violence. Throughout the year it has been appalling and disheartening to continue to see this violence, blatant racism, and injustice. Please be aware that those around you--students, staff, and families--may be experiencing a wide range of emotions. Some will feel anger and frustration; others might be anxious, while some may not feel anything. Please remember that not everyone will know how to best handle all of the emotions and the additional tension that might be present.

As a school that values social justice and pride in our identities, it is our job to ensure that, if students have questions, we answer them with facts and acknowledge their emotions. It is also important for you to know that we are prepared for a variety of student reactions and needs and that we are making space and providing opportunities for students to share their feelings. In order to support our students, we are working as a community to:

1. Re-establish the values of our inclusive classrooms,
2. Reflect on our identities, positionality, and feelings,
3. Reaffirm our responsibility to engage in these issues,
4. Have plans in place if students need support, and
5. Understand why this matters (from: Teaching Tolerance).

I also know that you may be looking for resources to help you navigate these conversations with your children as well. Here are several that we shared with staff:

Here are resources to learn more:

Here are resources to promote Asian American Mental Health and Safety:

And, here are resources to report Anti-Asian Hate Crimes:

Please know that if you are experiencing difficulty during this time, we are here to help. At any time you can reach out confidentially to our counselors or family liaison (Kunjal Shah, Phone: 857.270.3365) for assistance if you need help connecting or navigating resources.

Today and this week, in particular, I urge you to prioritize self-care and balance as we navigate the stress of violence, racism, the global pandemic, and our own personal obstacles. Audre Lorde reminds us, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” Make sure that you do what is necessary to take care of yourself and your family.

Sincerely,

Mirko Chardin
Founding Head of School
Putnam Ave. Upper School
mchardin@cpsd.us

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