A Message of Support to Our Black Students, Staff, and Community
Jun 1, 2020
white lambda logo on black

Today I shared the following message with our current Lambda School students and staff and I wanted to make it available to our larger community as well:

Hi all,

A lot of the world is hurting right now, and I know many of you are hurting. Last week the nation witnessed another innocent Black man murdered at the hands of the police.

I need you to know that we at Lambda School, and I specifically, strongly believe that Black Lives Matter.

Racism is deeply ingrained in this country. We want to believe that the United States is the land of hard work leading to rewards and upward mobility, but for significant chunks of the population, particularly the Black population, it’s not that simple. Events like what happened to George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor are vivid and visceral examples, and there are countless more every day that are less obvious, and just as destructive. This is not OK.

To the Black students at Lambda School: know that despite not understanding exactly what it feels like to be in your shoes right now, I desperately want to help and support you.

A few specific things we are doing:

  • Exhaustion of every kind may be a part of your reality right now. We are working with our staff and students to support anyone who needs to take time to process, mourn, or deal with practical realities arising as a result of this chaotic time.
  • Lambda School will be creating and releasing a Racial Inequities Seminar Series. This series will explore the issue of systemic disadvantage, unconscious bias, and racism in the tech sector itself. This series will be available to students, alumni, and staff. 
  •  Lambda provides free mental health services to all students through Modern Health and I hope that folks will take advantage of it.  
  • Importantly, we need to do more to build and support a diverse community and team at Lambda School, so that we can better reflect, support, and serve our student population.  The team has been working hard on a diversity report that we plan to share by July 31, 2020, and that will help chart our path forward.

My fervent hope in these challenging times is that Lambda can be a small part of the solution over the long term. Our system does far too much to hold people where they are – in their class, in their income, and in their zip code – in a nation where we celebrate mobility and opportunity. Programs like Lambda are trying to pave a new path and provide an alternative that creates equality of access to opportunity, regardless of circumstance, race, or any other demographic. 

I know that making Lambda successful is not enough, and it will take time. Even though we’re not physically together, please remember that all staff, instructors, and myself are always here to listen, to learn, to help where we can, and to support each of you in whatever way we can. 

Thank you for all the hard work you put in every day. I am so grateful to be part of a community that is kind, supportive, and trying to do our part individually and collectively to create change. Let’s be mindful, creative, and diligent in finding ways to break down the barriers that hold so many in our community back.

I know folks have a lot of thoughts and we want to embrace discussion about this, but please remember that this is a really complicated and emotional topic and time for many people. There are a lot of resources circulating on how to be an ally, how to educate yourself, and how to take action. Please take the time to educate yourself, and please be respectful, caring, and thoughtful toward each other as we have this conversation in our community. 

Thank you,

Austen

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