August 14, 2019
Dear Parents, Students, and Community members,
I would like to invite you to take part in an important community event on Saturday morning. August of 2019 marks the 400th anniversary of the first enslaved Africans who were brought to the shores of the British colony of Virginia. As a recent New York Times article notes, “no aspect of the country that would be formed here has been untouched by the years of slavery that followed.” From 1810 to 1860, over a million human beings were forced to march from Alexandria, Virginia through the Shenandoah Valley and on to the deep south to work against their will.
To observe and reflect on our history of injustice, the Episcopal Church in Virginia - both Virginia Theological Seminary and the Diocese of Southwest Virginia, where Stuart Hall is located - is sponsoring the Pilgrimage for Racial Justice.
On August 17, 2019 (this coming Saturday), the public is invited to attend an event which will include marching, praying, and singing. Members of the Staunton community, including Stuart Hall community members and students, will march in Staunton and note sites of African-American history along the way.
We invite you, our community, to take part in this important event. We encourage all families and students to attend. Connor Gwin, our Chaplain, and I will both attend, along with members of the faculty and administration. We will meet at 9:30 AM in front of Old Main and walk together to the larger meeting site.
As Bishop Bourlakas (father of Elizabeth, class of 2021, and member of the Board of Governors) reminds us, “We will be issuing a strong call for racial justice and reconciliation during this event. While there have been great sacrifices by many in the cause of equality and moments of progress, race relations in the United States have never reflected the true message of God’s love… This prejudice runs counter to the foundations of all our primary religions in America. Seeking reconciliation for our common future, we will be employing this pilgrimage to continue directing attention to the pressing need for truth-telling about this country’s history of injustice.”
Please consider joining us. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to my office.
Head of School