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Home From Our Head of School: A Message About Recent Events in Charlottesville, Virginia

From Our Head of School: A Message About Recent Events in Charlottesville, Virginia

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Because of the public demonstrations of racism and anti-Semitism displayed by members of white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend, and knowing there will be other such demonstrations and counter-protests in the weeks to come, I feel it is important to inform the wider readership of What's New that the events have made a significant impression on students, teachers, alumni/ae and their families, and that members of our sangha are responding in important ways.

My message to students at the Monday morning assembly focused attention on how the events on the other side of the country matter to us in our school. At PBA, we have African-American students, alumni and previous teachers; Jewish and Muslim alumni; foreign national students and alumni; immigrant students, alumni and personnel; students, alumni and personnel of diverse sexual orientations and gender expressions. In our school community, we are one sangha, with diverse and divergent ancestral and faith traditions, customs and social and political opinions. We strive to communicate with one another effectively and respectfully, even when we cleave passionately to our points of view.

Otake Sensei invited members of the F.E.A.R. Club (Fighting Everywhere Against Racism), a student-launched club begun last year and advised by him and Humanities teacher Joe Udell, to join at lunch to discuss the hate and counter-hate demonstrations in Charlottesville. A number of us gathered together to discuss our feelings, and to think over things we might do in response.

Mr. Udell focused our attention on ways concerned students and faculty can respond to the white supremacist attacks in Charlottesville through a website link he found insightful. And Otake Sensei let us know about a second vigil that will take place this weekend hosted by Amnesty International next to the Waikiki Shell.

The broader PBA community was also involved in peace efforts. We received word that PBA alumni and alumni parents had joined the Be the Light vigil that took place at Magic Island last Saturday.

As a school committed to peace, we are committed to the welfare of all beings and to maintaining a safe, inclusive learning community for all who choose to join us. The members of our community will continue work toward the welfare of all beings. "Hatred ceases by love," says the Dhammapada.

With love and care for all of you,


Josh Hernandez Morse
Head of School