An Unsilent Spring

Approximately+400+students%2C+parents%2C+faculty%2C+alumnae%2C+and+others+in+the+community+turned+out+for+GA%E2%80%99s+July+15%2C+2020+Black+Lives+Matter+rally.

Approximately 400 students, parents, faculty, alumnae, and others in the community turned out for GA’s July 15, 2020 Black Lives Matter rally.

On Saturday, July 15, the broader Greenwich Academy community gathered for a Black Lives Matter rally on the GA turf fields. The group consisted of students, parents, faculty, alumnae, and others, who attended to demonstrate their support. The rally was planned to be a student-led hour of reflection where the GA community could gather to stand together in solidarity with Black communities. Attendees heard from a number of current students, GA and Wick alumnae, and parents, who all pledged to take action in embodying an anti-racist culture here at Greenwich Academy.
The rally was an effective display of unity within our community. It became clear that everyone who attended was ready to come together in this fight towards equality. The event started with an introduction from Olivia Jonokuchi ’21, a leader of student diversity. Following Jonokuchi and speeches from other student leaders, anyone who wanted to could speak. At first, there was silence. People were hesitant to open up and become vulnerable to the large crowd. But soon enough a brave parent rose to the stand and shared her fears and concerns about her daughter’s GA experience. The open mic continued, featuring a Brunswick alum, more parents, and former students.
Finally, board member Michelle Johnson and chair Tim Armstrong spoke. If there was one big takeaway from the entire event, it would be the 10 promises that the GA community is making in its movement for greater equality. All those attending the rally took a pledge to be a part of a community effort to stand together in the movement for justice and equality in our school and in the world.
The assembly ended by taking a knee in silence for eight minutes and 46 seconds in remembrance of George Floyd. Participants were also reminded to honor the lives of Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks, Sandra Bland, Breonna Taylor, and countless others who’ve died at the hands or in custody of the police or police surrogates.
When GA announced that there would be a Black Lives Matter rally, the statement carried a lot of significance in itself. It was the community’s opportunity to come together in unison to show support and commit to positive change.
The occasion was somber, the spirit hopeful: So much potential for positive change in the future—we just have to find a way to make it happen together.
Greenwich Academy’s Black Lives Matter rally was an important and critical moment to demonstrate GA’s commitment in fighting for social justice and racial equality,” said rising junior Lauren Harteveldt ’22, who called the event “eye-opening.”
Classmate Cameron Brower ’22 agreed. “Seeing a new and needed perspective of people of color in a predominately white school and town gave the community—and definitely myself—a wake-up call on the change that needs to be made in the system here at GA and Brunswick,” she said.
“While only the beginning,” Harteveldt said, “it was a step in the right direction and I look forward to what progress the future brings.”
It is safe to say that as a community, we have a ways to go. There will be barriers to overcome, and other challenges to face, but this rally set the tone for change at Greenwich Academy.