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‘Scary, Challenging, But Possible’: Board Members Reflect on Anti-Racism Training

As Packer strives to become anti-racist, it is imperative that community members share an understanding of race and racism and the impact of both at our school and in our country. This includes Packer’s Board of Trustees.  

Earlier this fall, trustees participated in a day-long training presented by the Center for Racial Justice in Education. The session helped board members deepen their knowledge about the history of race and racism in the United States and strengthen their understanding of how racial oppression, privilege, and identity affect their lives.  

“Looking at American history through an antiracist lens is powerful,”  said Alexa Eccles P’28, P’30, a Packer trustee and President of the Parent Association. “You begin to understand that the history of slavery and racism that was taught to so many of us at school was very much white-washed and sanitized of the true horrors and lasting impacts. Looking at the information and timelines with this perspective allowed me to better appreciate how deeply racism is woven into this country's systems and culture.”  

Discovering the fallacies of one’s childhood history lessons can be emotional and unsettling. 
“This experience [of anti-racism training] has been much like surviving in the deep ocean with a tiny life ring—scary, challenging, but possible,” said trustee Mimi Sotheby, P’17, P’19. “Though it has not been a comfortable process, plunging in with thoughtful and knowledgeable facilitators has made the work more meaningful.”  
Both Alexa and Mimi agree that this type of training is critical for moving the Packer community forward. 

“This knowledge allows us to have better conversations about tackling issues and understanding the challenges that face Packer,” said Alexa. 
“Talking about the problems and exposing the raw emotions is the beginning of the work," added Mimi.  “The harder challenge is to start to unravel the twisted system of racism that exists. I’m hopeful this can be done one person, one classroom, one school, one neighborhood, one city, one nation at a time.”   

Diversity Mission Statement

Packer believes that healthy identity development is essential to the academic, social, and emotional growth of our students. As educators, we must create an environment in which all students feel safe, challenged, celebrated, and an integral part of Packer. It is our responsibility to engage all members of our school community in understanding multiple perspectives and participating in anti-bias work. Ultimately, our goal is to prepare students to become contributing members of a multicultural and interconnected society.

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