Dear Black Community Members of Westridge,

We are grateful for your urgent calls for comprehensive, institutional change at Westridge. Through your Instagram posts on BlackatWestridge, emails and letters, and a series of conversations we have had individually and with groups of Black and African American community members, we have heard of the scarring effects of racism on our campus. The experiences you have relayed of racist language and actions, microaggressions, isolation, inaction when your concerns were brought forward to administrators and faculty, and more, are horrendous. They cut across all aspects of our school and community and are similar across the decades. We apologize for your painful experiences at Westridge and thank you for your willingness to share them with us.

As shared with the Black Community at Westridge members with whom we and a group of trustees met in late September, you have already helped advance the school’s work in diversity, equity, and inclusion. You have reframed our thinking about equity and inclusion to focus on systemic racism and anti-racism, concepts that had not been a significant part of our thinking or discussions in the past. This has been important for us as individuals and has galvanized people in all parts of our community—administration, trustees, faculty and staff, and parents and students alike—around this work.

We take responsibility for making lasting, systemic change in our school to make Westridge safe and supportive for Black and African American students, and for transforming Westridge into an anti-racist institution. Much work is underway: we have expanded the executive-level roles of the DEI chairs on the Board of Trustees and are forming a DEI Oversight Committee comprising representatives from across the constituencies of the school to ensure progress is made and sustained. A formal DEI plan is being developed from the framework outlined in the school’s 2020-2025 Strategic Plan. In the meantime, work is happening across our virtual campus and program. For information and updates on ongoing work, we refer you to the DEI page of the school’s website.

We look forward to continued dialogue, including the upcoming meeting with Black Community at Westridge alumnae representatives and members of the school administration, as we take the action necessary to create a school environment where students have no doubt that they belong and can be heard.

Thank you for helping us see the gravity of the need before us.

Sincerely,

 

Elizabeth J. McGregor
Head of School

Richard Fung
Chair, Board of Trustees

Laureen Chang
DEI Co-Chair, Board of Trustees

Marc Harris
DEI Co-Chair, Board of Trustees