I am writing today to follow up on last Thursday’s forum which was hosted by Lori Patriacca ‘01 and John Bouton focused on the film Just Mercy. The film - watch it if you haven’t - focuses on the work of Bryan Stevenson and the Equal Justice Initiative work Stevenson does to review and exonerate those - mostly Black and on death row - who have been wrongfully prosecuted and convicted. It’s an eye-opening film into a skewed legal system and it prompted good community and self reflection. The forum is part of an on-going series of conversations and listening sessions organized at Proctor since the protests, unrest, and calls for police reform following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
We talk often about how it is the people that make Proctor such a kind, supportive, loving community. As we rapidly approach June 30 and the final official day of the 2019-2020 academic year, we bid farewell to eight talented faculty and staff who have dedicated a portion (or in some cases all) of their professional life to the Proctor community.
One year ago, on June 19, 2019, Governor Sununu signed a bill declaring Juneteenth a state holiday in the State of New Hampshire, 154 years after the last group of enslaved Americans learned of their freedom outside Galveston, Texas, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued. The date, June 19, 1865, was recognized as the actual independence of Black Americans. Freedom, delayed.
One of the few consistent pockets of human interaction on campus occurs at meal times as faculty and staff migrate to the west end of campus by foot or bike to gather to-go meals from our Dining Services team. Toddlers sprint by on their balance bikes, dogs strain against their leashes to say hello, and for a few minutes we are reminded just how energized we become by the mere presence of our colleagues.
In a cacophonous world, in a time when it can feel like whoever is the most persistent, is the last one talking out the other voices to claim the narrative, the truth, the facts, the mute button has something to teach us. This Zoom, WebEx landscape may not be such a bad thing for us to experience these days if we can take this one little lesson, a lesson that is reminiscent of what my mother used to remind me whenever I used to blurt out some inanity without thinking, “Please…just please remember to engage your brain before you engage your tongue.”
This past weekend would have been Proctor's Spring Family Weekend. Teachers and advisors would have gathered with parents to discuss student growth. We would have played games Friday evening and Saturday afternoon, seen a sneak peak at the Spring Musical during assembly, and Head of School Mike Henriques would have shared his annual "State of Proctor" conversation with families.