C&C Community Dialogue About Racism and Inequities

Millie Cartagena


September 1, 2020


Dear City and Country School Alumni, Alumni Parents, and Former Faculty and Staff,

I am writing to share an update about our ongoing anti-racism work at C&C, and in particular, insights from our recent forums and meetings. Current C&C community members gathered in August to reflect on the facilitated forums that C&C hosted earlier this month and to look ahead to the important work that still lies in front of us. These August forums were dedicated to honoring, listening to, and learning from the reflections of alumni, alumni parents, former faculty and staff, and current community members of color about their time at C&C. Thank you to all of the alumni, alumni parents, current students, staff, and faculty members who shared their experiences and participated in the forums. (More information about these meetings is available here. I am also sharing links to several documents that were discussed in our recent meeting, along with further reflections from the earlier POC forums.)
It was evident from both the forums and the gathering with our current community members that we are ready to engage collectively in ongoing deep reflection on our own privilege and power, and thinking about how these reinforce the existing systems that oppress marginalized groups. This is not the end of our work, but it is an important place for us to start, and we will use this reflective process to guide us as we move forward with meaningful individual and institutional change. Our equity and inclusion consultant, Michelle Wonsley-Ford, identified our school on the continuum of becoming an anti-racist multicultural institution as being in the “Symbolic Change” zone, indicative of the need for deeper and continued work. Our goal is to become a fully inclusive anti-racist multicultural organization, understanding that our institutional and personal growth will help create a transformed society. As a School, we are committed to examining C&C’s structures, policies, programs, and practices and to taking appropriate action. As community members, we must all engage in individual self-reflection and commit both to our own personal growth and to contributing to anti-racism work at C&C and in society at large. 

The participation and feedback we received from alumni, parents, staff, and faculty of color has been extremely helpful in understanding the structures in place that caused and continue to cause harm to marginalized community members. With that in mind, we will be inviting high school and college-age alumni (cross racial) to join our upcoming community meetings focused on anti-racism. The dates of these meetings, as well as more information about the structure, will be shared with our young alumni in the coming weeks.
Some inspiring changes have already occurred, and many more will follow as we continue our deep engagement with this work. The School has committed to revising its mission statement and adding specific language that will support establishing a truly equitable and inclusive institution for all. C&C will also be supporting professional development on anti-racism and social justice for staff and faculty, as well as providing opportunities for current parents to engage in anti-racism work.
I am including the Black Students Demanding Change link, which outlines the demands of black high school students across a number of private educational institutions. Although this letter was not sent to C&C directly, their demands will assist in framing the work that we have ahead. We acknowledge that there is an enormous amount of work ahead of us as we strive to become an anti-racist institution. We also recognize the immediate need to foster a sense of belonging and empowerment for all community members, and we are continuing to work on both simultaneously.
I look forward to sharing information on the upcoming meetings dedicated to supporting personal growth and creating lasting institutional change. The time for change is now, and I implore you to continue showing up and engaging with us.
Inspired,
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Phone: 212.242.7802