Dear Pelham Parents and Community Members,
In recent days, we have witnessed some of the best of who we are, through peaceful demonstrations to demand justice such as the candlelight vigil held in Pelham last night, and some of the worst, such as violent confrontations and looting -- all stemming from the callous killing of George Floyd. We lament the blatant disregard for the life of yet another black man at the hands of someone who was supposed to protect, and know that this one event is another stark example of the systemic racism that has persisted in our country for far too long.
The pain and injustice so many are feeling, including here in Pelham, is real and their voices must be heard. While the right to free speech, including the right to assemble peacefully is engrained in who we are as Americans, we must reject violence and lead by example to show others the changes that we want to see.
As educators, parents and a community that thrives when we work together for the common good, it is incumbent upon all of us to help our students understand their place in all of this by acknowledging our nation's past, having difficult and uncomfortable conversations, and working together to foster change. It is also important to help our children understand the difference between corrupt actions of some police and those who work to serve with honor and dignity to keep us safe each day. In the days and weeks ahead, it is essential that we remain committed to creating a more equitable and just society.
Our District chose to make Cultural Competence a core goal of our Strategic Plan, recognizing the need to understand our own biases and overcome the preconceptions that hold us back as a society. But setting a goal alone won't change anything. Each day, we must commit to questioning our own assumptions, helping our students grapple with difficult issues to find their civic voice, and working together to lift each other up.
This tragedy and the events it has sparked are vivid reminders that we have much work to do in breaking down the damaging norms of the past. Effecting the change we wish to see will be difficult, it will take time, but I know that we can make a difference by speaking up and uniting in this work.
The Pelham community has a strong tradition of coming together and supporting each other through difficult times and I know that unity will help us all through the days and weeks ahead.
Below, please find some resources and articles that may be helpful to parents as you engage in conversations with your children.
Social Distancing Guidelines
- Stay home as much as possible, even if you feel healthy
- Refrain from congregating in groups and maintain a distance of at least 6 feet between yourself and others
- Refrain from social gatherings, playdates and sleepovers with friends
- Do not visit public playgrounds
- Use caution when visiting grocery stores/pharmacies and consider delivery services for food and groceries.
- When maintaining social distancing is not possible, cover your nose and mouth with a cloth or mask when you leave home.
- Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your face, especially your mouth, nose, or eyes.
Contact Information for Social Workers and Student Assistance Counselor
Our social workers and student assistance counselor continue to be available to support those who are experiencing hardships and need assistance. Please feel free to contact:
- Kristin Quintano, Social Worker, 914-738-3434 x1295
- Sharon Charles, Social Worker, 914-738-8190 x1218
- Kelley-Anne Lonergan, Student Assistance Counselor, 914-738-8182
Information on Community Organizations Offering Assistance
Additionally, organizations such as Pelham Together, the Junior League of Pelham and our faith community have offered their assistance with those families with a variety of needs, including food, child care, and other demands of day-to-day life. The Pelham Civic Association is also available for families that have fallen on hard times due to this pandemic. Please feel free to reach out in confidentiality for potential assistance to Richard Davidian, Vice President, Community programs at Richard.Davidian1@gmail.com (914-552-0872) or Dr. Stan Trocchia, Chairman, Good Neighbors program Goodneighbors@pelhamcivics.org.