I sat down to write today and I was overwhelmed by the magnitude of the last 12 weeks.
It has been that long since we had to close our doors on March 14th to respond to the pandemic that was about to sweep through and attack our communities. During this moment of time, we had to grapple with the challenge of keeping our business alive amidst a time of unparalleled unrest and uncertainty. We have no corporate backers at One River and I am so proud of the work that my team has done to shift to online education and provide a world class experience. We are grateful for the support of our customers, students and the communities that we serve.
Having said that, the last 12 weeks has created a more profound challenge that we also have to address at One River and across our country. I pride myself on trying to really understand the human condition. However, I don’t understand racism one bit and can’t grasp hating others because they are born different from me. I am fortunate to have gone to a middle school and high school that was half black and I loved that experience. Growing up in the melting pot of Queens, NY in the 60’s and 70’s taught me a lot about myself and the appreciation of cultural differences. I was just becoming aware during the civil rights movement and it had a profound effect on me. I am also aware that people today have not fundamentally changed that much from the days of my youth and unfortunately systemic racism exists everywhere.
This issue is something that we are grappling with and as a young business, I am searching for ways to add appropriate tools to our toolkit so that we can do our part. I believe that One River can play our own role and be a part of the solution. This is an agenda item that I will personally drive over the balance of this year and I hope to introduce some new, sustaining programs that demonstrate that even small businesses can really help. We can make a difference as an educator and by creating employment…this is our pulpit and a position that allows us to focus on diverse points of view delivered by a diverse team.
One River School will reopen across the country at various dates over the next thirty days. We will be so well prepared to offer an experience that is very simply: Creative. Social. Safe. This is our mantra and we have built every possible idea into our plan to make sure we live up to this promise. Our website details most of these safety provisions and our school teams can answer all the detailed questions you may have.
The last 12 weeks have changed us all. Now, it is on us I to make sure One River School does its part to help others in need AND providing a transformation creative educational experience.