Craig Gemmell

On June 19, 1865, two years after Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas were notified of their freedom. 155 years later, we mark the anniversary of what has become known as “Juneteenth” to celebrate the end of slavery, perhaps this time with a renewed purpose and vision: to really strive to achieve real freedom for Black people across the globe.

The Black Lives Matter protests have captured our attention across the nation, with thousands upon thousands of people standing in solidarity with Black people against racial injustices suffered by their communities far and wide. Here at Brewster, we proudly stood with them, and almost 600 others turned out for Wolfeboro’s largest demonstration in history. 

But we will do more than just stand in solidarity. Juneteenth takes on a new meaning today. More Americans, myself included, now know the significance of this date, whereas before it had passed me by without much notice. As the movement for equity in our country grows each passing day, the call to make the world better starts with the work we do within. As a white male, I’m learning every day how to recognize my privilege and try to be a better ally, and I’ve realized that this learning process is, as our Director of Equity and Inclusion Melissa Lawlor often says, like exercising this muscle we never knew we had, and trying to remember to do it every day.

James Baldwin wrote, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” This Juneteenth, we need to face our history, and face ourselves. We at Brewster are committed to affirming our Black students, alumni, and colleagues in positive ways, and to helping others become stronger allies in the fight for equality. To that end, we have begun work on a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion resource page on our Brewster website for families to educate themselves about Black Lives Matter and other issues pertaining to equity, so that conversations can begin at home, or continue to be bolstered and informed, and we will start rolling out a Teaching Tuesdays video series on our Instagram account, which was created and will be produced by students, for students.

This is just the first step of many. Brewster is committed to making a better world for our students, and for each other. I hope you are, too.

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