Dear New Rochelle High School Students,
Today many of you came by to speak with me about your feelings regarding the results of the presidential election. You shared that you were feeling anxious and afraid about your future and the future of your country. Some of you expressed a deep sadness and felt that the results were a personal rejection of who you are as a Latino, as a Muslim, as a woman, as an LGBTQ person, as an immigrant, as a Black person, as a person with a disability, as a person . . . full stop.
A few of you shared that you were reconsidering your choice of college because the colleges you were interested in were located in states and communities that heavily supported the president-elect and you were afraid of being surrounded by people who appear to hate you.
I want you to know that despite the divisive tone that defined much of the election process, our country is a place for all of the people and that our success as a nation is not dependent on any particular individual no matter their title or office. “We the people” are collectively greater than any singular person.
I want you to know that you have a powerful voice and that you should never allow yourself to be silenced, marginalized or limited in any way. Each and every one of you has unlimited potential to contribute positively to our society in any way that you can and in fact you have the obligation and the right to do so. I encourage you to read everything that you can. Dedicate yourself to being fully informed active participants in our civic life.
I want you to know that the people who supported the president-elect are people who have the same essential hopes for life that you do. It is my hope that this election can serve as an incredible opportunity for you to bridge the divide that may exist between yourself and others who may think differently than you. I encourage you to seek them out, exchange ideas and develop authentic empathetic relationships that are grounded in the humanity that you share and not the ideas that divide you. Be intentional about kindness to everyone you encounter.
Above all, I want you to know that you are loved and supported by your family, all of the adults here at school as well as those in the community. We are so fortunate to be a part of such a diverse, vibrant and inclusive community as New Rochelle. I ask that you never take this for granted and take full advantage of the opportunities presented by living and learning in a community as diverse as this one.
Be assured that our democracy is greater than this moment. This moment will pass but our nation and the principles that it was founded upon will endure. You are the best of us and our greatest hope for the future. We treasure each and every one of you.