June 2, 2020
Dear Cannon Community,
As members of the Cannon School family, we are dedicated to nurturing all relationships in ways that develop positive self-identities and foster a true sense of belonging. We are a school community that declares a deep responsibility for how we treat our fellow humans. I stand today against the violations in our world of these shared dedications and recognize that each of us is processing a range of thoughts and emotions.
The events across our country related to the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, the repeated acts of violence against African Americans and people of color, and the impact of structural racism are devastating. They continue a pattern that rips at our collective society, and they bring into the spotlight what must be our concerted demand to bend the arc of history more and more toward justice, peace, and unity.
While I cannot know or experience what each one of us is feeling, I do understand the values for which our Cannon community stands.
I am heartbroken for members of our Cannon family who have been made to feel pain, sadness, and fear because of who you are as African Americans. Know that in your school community, you will find the support, love, listening, and dignity you deserve. Cannon School does not condone racism, prejudice, hatred, or violence in any form.
I am grateful for our teachers and colleagues who have the passion and training to engage us in difficult conversations. I am thankful for our students, families, alumni, and friends who have the character and courage to share their vulnerable personal experiences so that we may continue to build a school culture of belonging and trust.
And I hope that we are humbled by an awareness that each of us can listen, learn, and love more.
It is during crucible moments like these that dialogue, a desire to understand one another’s unique experiences, and critical thinking about our world can show us a way forward. And while these beliefs compelled me to write today, I acknowledge that this message is but a humble offering to the work that lies ahead for our communities and our country. Especially during this sobering moment in our history, I encourage us to lean on, and lean in to, our Cannon community more than ever. Our mission, based on the nurturing of relationships, is critical to influencing our future, and I am hopeful for the ways these conversations and commitments will move us forward together.
In the spirit of dialogue and understanding, we offer a shortlist of resources below to help in your discussions within your families. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and there are myriad resources available, but this is a beginning to a conversation that must continue.
G. Christopher Jones
Head of School