In Solidarity

In Solidarity

World Ocean School is committed to advancing equity and fighting racism and injustice. 

Every day, World Ocean School is focused on inspiring productive, responsible and engaged community members. Today, amidst the devastation and heartbreak of recent events, this means more than standing as “allies” with our Black community members. This means we must take action and work harder each day to be more than passively “not racist,” but to be actively anti-racist. The responsibility lies with those of us with privilege to dismantle systems of oppression.  

As Ijeoma Oluo says, "The beauty of anti-racism is that you don’t have to pretend to be free of racism to be an anti-racist. Anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself. And it’s the only way forward." 

At World Ocean School we commit to furthering our diversity, equity and inclusion practices. This includes:

  • Developing a more diverse board and staff to more appropriately reflect the students we serve
  • Strengthening our program content and ensuring that we include training on implicit and explicit bias, microaggressions, and systemic racism
  • Continuing to listen to our students, and empower them to speak out against  injustice 
  • Practicing anti-racism daily by standing up and fighting against racism and injustice wherever we find it, unwilling to be complicit or comfortable in our privilege. 

World Ocean School was founded in response to the devastating terrorist attacks of  9/11. Driven to respond, our founders sought to build community and inspire the next generation through the power of cross-cultural exchange and transformative experiences. Today is no different; we as an organization must respond as our communities continue to be subjected to horrendous racist violence, inequity, and injustice. 

I have not always been so keenly aware of the roles power and privilege play in all of our lives. But when I was invited to join a cohort of leaders in the city of Boston called LeadBoston, it was an enlightening gift. For 12 months, my colleagues and I learned and shared about the inequities of our society and the challenges the city faces as a result. Not only did this further my understanding of how much more I needed to learn, but it also reinforced the privileges I do carry. And with privilege comes the tremendous responsibility to act. 

A friend and respected anti-racist facilitator, Susan Naimark, compared white privilege to running with the wind at your back—you don’t feel the advantage you have until you turn around and start running into the wind. I hope to always have the courage and strength to run into the wind for equity.

I hope you’ll join me.

In solidarity,

Eden Leonard

P.S. If you’re interested in learning more here are some great anti-racism resources that I have found helpful. I would be more than happy to discuss any of this in more detail.