Over the summer, our board of directors voted to create a new committee chartered through all realms of our school. This Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity Committee is a culmination of several years of study within groups of faculty, administration, board, and parent council. While the committee is at the beginning of its journey to organize and find its place within our school, the overwhelming support from administration, faculty, and board signals an important, heartfelt, tide-change towards dismantling old patterns and encouraging a new vision of diverse ideas that promote equitable actions within a more inclusive community. For this, I offer a letter of love…
Dear TWS Community,
I was inspired to write this by a young woman named Tiffany Dena Loftin who is the National Director of the NAACP Youth & College. This week celebrated the 57th March on Washington, inspiring this powerful, young, black woman to write a love letter to the Black Community and its allies recognizing both the suffering and sacrifice yet also the joy and love to be found in participating in the Movement towards social justice. Ms. Loftin’s letter struck a chord with me as she emphasized that our relationships and ties are our greatest gift in organizing change within our communities and world. She asked us to “put the vision first,” and “meet people where they are,” and to “be graceful.” She asked us to love ourselves and each other. This resonates with me.
It feels scary, but I am going to share with you. This year, 2020, (and it is not over yet!), has forced me to face many personal fears, to dig deeper into my well of resiliency, to accept grave disappointments, and to allow room to grieve loss. Fear, uncertainty, struggle, sickness, mental exhaustion and discontent is shared, unfortunately, within our local and national communities, in this moment, as never before. There are days when it has been difficult to be strong and days during which I have asked myself, “what does it mean to be strong?” I have also done the work to gather up my courage to do things like speak up for my core beliefs and transparently share myself – because amid this uphill hike, in a forest fire – it has been really difficult to admit to myself and to my community that I have both been hurt by racial and social injustice and, yet, also have a great deal to learn about how my own power and privilege marginalizes others. As we flow into the last months of 2020, I have finally accepted that this is the year to release into the fear of using my voice and pen as instruments for seeking the kinds of positive changes I hope for in my heart.
On the flip side, 2020 is also a year that has expanded my feelings of love and acceptance for all kinds of people and situations including myself and the uncertain choices I must face as a mother, business owner, friend, woman, minority, and citizen of humanity. Being willing to accept that we are living in unprecedented times and to allow myself to find more corners to fill with compassion and love has been the key to my personal adaptation and sanity.
So, Tucson Waldorf School Community, I confess my love for you amid all of the struggles and uncertainty we are sharing. I love you because of the actions that I have witnessed over the last many months: from the genuine movement towards dismantling racism in our school community, to Hilary Moses hosting Talk Story sessions, to the long hours contributed by our COVID-19 task force, to the savvy of our faculty’s bridge learning plan, and the support shown from fellow parents. I love you because you give me hope that we are striving, within our TWS community, to create a safer, more inclusive, more equitable, and more harmonious place for our children. I love you because despite any differences in beliefs, we are still striving to prioritize the vision of this deserved future for our children while meeting each other where we are and trying to do it with grace.
Please continue to lead with the rhythm of your heart. I hope that my sharing will also encourage you to raise your voice and participate in our community. In the words of Rabbi Jonah Pasner, Director of Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, there has been “far too much silence,” and it is time to “raise our voices – in a song of justice and a hymn of love.”
With gratitude for your time and openness,
Sariya Jarasviroj Brown
4th Grade Parent and TWEA Board Member
To hear the speeches that inspired this letter go to