The Park Parent Examines 2020
We’re so pleased to be publishing this, the first official issue of The Park Parent of this extraordinary 2020-21 school year.
Our editors and volunteer writers met back in October for our first editorial meeting. It was later in the term than we usually get started. Given the upheavals in all of our lives, responsibilities, and schedules, we adapted our plans and expectations. Our first official issue would be in December 2020, not Fall, and we would post some articles to the website separately, in advance of the first issue, as they became available. (We’ll likely continue to post pieces on a “running” basis throughout the year, compiling them with new content created specifically for regular seasonal issues like this one.)
As we talked, we decided that certainly we wanted to report on Park’s reopening during the pandemic, and all of the remarkable, creative effort that allowed it. We hoped to carry on running regular features such as “Check This Out” and “Park Creates.” And we brainstormed a variety of other possible articles to be written this year.
As content came into better focus, however, it was another theme that dominated our conversation. After a summer of national protest and reckoning around issues of racial justice, it felt not just appropriate, but urgent that articles related to Park’s DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) initiatives factor significantly in this Park Parent issue. Yet, as we simultaneously noted the clear lack of diversity in the faces populating our Zoom screen that morning, we recognized a major blind spot, not only in our own editorial process, but in the relationship of The Park Parent with our school community.
We are now taking active steps to redress this. Please see the accompanying letter in this issue, announcing our commencement of a collaboration with the co-chairs of the Parents’ Association DEI Committee.
For more than 50 years, parents have been supporting this fantastic resource as writers and editors. The Park Parent should serve all parents, families, faculty, staff, administration, and the wider Park community. It should inform – and even entertain. But as well, in this moment, we have an opportunity for transformation. How can The Park Parent serve our community more inclusively, more equitably? How can we re-imagine possibilities to make it an even richer, more valuable, more vibrant space for ideas and news at Park? We need your input to answer these questions. Keep your eyes out for a survey, coming soon, which we hope will help guide us in the months and years ahead.
In the meantime, we hope you’ll dig into this issue and find material of interest and meaning. And please, let us know what you think by emailing TheParkParent@parkschool.org. Feedback of any kind is always welcome, and helps us improve.
Many thanks, and be well,
Cornelius Howland, Co-Editor
Kate LaPine, Director of Communications and Co-Editor
Equitable Representation and Anti-Racist Awareness in The Park Parent
Dear Park Parent Readers,
As noted in the accompanying letter from the editors, the first editorial meeting of this school year occasioned a renewed commitment to equitable representation and anti-racist awareness in the pages of The Park Parent. Key to that commitment was and is the recognition that Park must actively celebrate the backgrounds and perspectives of all members of the community, and that parents of color in particular have often not felt represented in this effort. How might The Park Parent more intentionally and actively engage a diversity of perspective in our editorial process?
And so, just over a week after that first editorial meeting, Park Parent editors and writers met with the co-chairs of the Parents’ Association DEI Committee – Vianka Perez Belyea, Sarah Holden Chokshi, Divya Kumar, and Celina Barrios-Millner – to begin what will be an ongoing conversation and collaboration.
We talked about the need for The Park Parent to maintain an anti-racist perspective overall. We reviewed content areas that are priorities for parents of color. We outlined possible future articles and initiatives to better link Park Parent content to anti-racist work happening elsewhere in the School. Moving forward, we agreed to keep lines of communication open, honest, and active.
This collaboration will surely evolve – and we hope, expand. As of now, many plans have yet to be solidified. And we realize that while the PA DEI Committee is one important representative body for parents of color, it’s of course just one of many other voices that can and should join us. Already, though, we feel that our cooperation has begun to meaningfully influence the way articles come together on these pages.
More to come,
Vianka Perez Belyea, PA DEI Committee Liaison to The Park Parent
Cornelius Howland, Co-Editor, The Park Parent
Suzy Akin, Director of Marketing and Strategic Communications
Kate LaPine, Director of Communications and Co-Editor, The Park Parent