Ashley Hall Life6/10/20
An Important Message from Head of School Jill Muti: June 10, 2020
To the Ashley Hall Community,
I have been reflecting for the past several weeks on the current events in this country related to the inequitable impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, multiple incidents of police violence against African Americans, and both the peaceful protests and violent expressions of grief and anger of people from all demographics. I too am filled with grief and anger and at times, quite honestly, am overwhelmed by trying to make meaning of it both personally and professionally. I am wrestling with the past, present, and future of this country, South Carolina, Charleston, and Ashley Hall.
So many things in the last several months have felt uncertain and unstable and yet, of this, I am certain: it is imperative to confront the enduring legacy of slavery, segregation, and racism in this country, this state, and our own community. We know these ideas are fueled by our collective beliefs, biases, and prejudices—intentional and unintentional—and upheld by institutional structures that perpetuate these beliefs and attitudes. There is work to be done, and I am hopeful with the renewed sense of energy I am feeling around the country and in our own community, that we can meaningfully be part of this work and start to envision what equitable institutions, practices, and beliefs can look like.
With this in mind, I want to share important information related to the School’s work going forward. I had the pleasure and honor of meeting with two young alumnae of the School, who along with more than fifty of their fellow alumnae from graduating years ranging from 1980 to 2019 have coalesced to form an action network to partner with the School to affect change on our campus as it relates to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The women who are the foundational members of this group are discerning, intelligent, worldly, purposeful, creative, collaborative, and compassionate. They have presented the School with a call to action. We hear their call, accept it, and acknowledge it will be grounded in sound and reasonable listening and learning as we navigate together.
In the coming weeks I will be forming a task force made up of members from the aforementioned alumnae network, trustees, Ashley Hall administrators, and a consultant with whom the School has been working. We look forward to leveraging the energy of our community and affecting positive change, perhaps most of all for our students, as we live out our mission to produce educated women who are independent, ethically responsible, and prepared to meet the challenges of society with confidence.
Jill Swisher Muti
Head of School