Statement on the Pursuit of a More Just and Transformed World

Dear Gann Community,
 
A small measure of accountability was handed out yesterday within the Minnesota justice system. And as we continue to regularly witness unarmed Black people killed by police in America, that accountability doesn’t return the lives lost in a broken system we must change. We can’t close our eyes or ears to what Derek Chauvin did to George Floyd. That moment of loss highlighted (yet again) the state of racism in America today. And we must not and cannot, ever forget our belief that every human is made in the image of God, that Black lives matter. Yesterday’s moment of accountability is a call to action for enduring, systemic change towards a more just and transformed world.

In reflecting on the enormity of this moment and the legacy of George Floyd's death, we are reminded of this ideal from the Talmud, "Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world" (Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:9; Babylonian Talmud Tractate Sanhedrin 37a). George Floyd's life mattered. So did the lives of Ahmaud Arbery, Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Alton Sterling, Breonna Taylor, Adam Toledo, Daunte Wright, and countless others whose lives were entire worlds unto themselves. We honor and remember their names.

In this moment, we also honor and stand in solidarity with those who used their smartphones, their voices, and their testimonies to make the world a little bit more just. As Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said this yesterday, "they stopped and raised their voices because they saw [George Floyd's] humanity. They stopped and raised their voices because they knew that what they saw was wrong... They performed simple, yet profound acts of courage. They told the truth and they told the whole truth about what they saw." As a school and alumni community, we must continue to commit to using our voices, our learning, our choices in service of human dignity and the inherent value of all life. We remind ourselves that our mandate is "only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk modestly with your God" (Micah, 6:8). 

In continued pursuit of a more just and transformed world,

Dr. Dalia Hochman
Head of School, Gann Academy
 
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