The Two-Way Street Called Love
(Letter to St. Luke's School Community, October 7, 2019)
The Parents of Students of Color (POSOC) met last Thursday evening for the first time in the 2019-2020 academic year. Sixteen parents from beautifully diverse backgrounds joined me at school for food, fellowship, and fun. Laughter, comfortable dialogue, and a hospitable energy filled the room.
As we introduced ourselves, I asked parents to respond to several questions including these: 1) What tangible dish would you bring to the "Welcome Table"? and 2) What intangible "gifts" do you bring to the "Welcome Table"?
In response to the first question, parents described the most delectable dishes that they and their families enjoy. The parents at St. Luke's School could outdo any award-winning chef when it comes to cuisine and creativity. As we imagined the Welcome Table, it became abundantly clear that the effort to build a care-full community involves tangible activities such as eating together and crossing culinary boundaries with curiosity and appreciation.
In response to the second question, parents described the most heart-warming personal characteristics and values that they gladly bring to our community to make us better and brighter. Words such as joy, optimism, hugs, wisdom, passion, and gratitude lept from the lips of one parent into the hearts of other parents.
Several parents said that a precious gift that they bring to St. Luke's School is love! My soul needed to hear that. Our world needs to hear that.
Love - truth-telling love, justice-seeking love, heart-mending love - must undergird our efforts to build care-full communities - both inside and outside the walls of St. Luke's School.
James Baldwin, the 20th century literary genius and prophetic seer, once reflected on love - not the syrupy love of Hallmark cards - but rather the serious, strong love upon which a better today and a brighter tomorrow can be established. Baldwin remarked:
If I love you, I have to make you conscious of the things you don't see. Insofar as that is true, in that effort, I become conscious of the things that I don't see. And I will not see without you, and vice versa, you will not see without me...
The only way you can get through it is to accept that two-way street which I call love.
Many streets in New York City are woefully congested. The traffic, however, on the two-way street called love can flow easily if we let it.
Brad R. Braxton, Ph.D.
Interim Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion
and Church-School Initiatives
St. Luke's School
A coeducational Episcopal school welcoming children of all faiths.