Dear members of the HPA ʻohana,
As we pass each other on campus, we often share the Hawaiian greeting aloha. Aloha does not just mean ‘hello’ or ‘goodbye’ — it has a deeper meaning of love and affection. It is also a universal commitment to peace, compassion, mercy, and humanity. In addition, we often use the term ‘ohana, which reflects love and caring for our immediate family as well as the larger community — within HPA, on our island, and throughout the world. It is with aloha for all of our ʻohana that we acknowledge the strong emotions that many of us are experiencing right now with the recent deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and many other members of the Black community, along with the outbreak of protests throughout our country.
At its heart, Hawaiʻi has always been a place of great diversity and inclusion. While the Pacific Ocean may separate us physically from the pain, fear, and devastation that is sweeping through communities in the continental United States, the need to stand up and speak out when faced with injustice knows no boundaries.
Hawaiʻi Preparatory Academy (HPA) condemns all forms of racism, oppression, prejudice, and violence. The mission, vision, and core values of Hawaiʻi Preparatory Academy promote diversity, equity, and inclusion. We remain steadfast in our commitment to educate future generations to become leaders who understand that it is not enough to simply hope for change, and who leave our school empowered with the integrity and courage needed to pursue justice with the understanding that we are all stronger together.
While we recognize that we are imperfect and still have work to do ourselves, we are dedicated to being better and we are committed to improving through learning and love for all. Although some people may be experiencing feelings of helplessness right now, we know that we can take action by recommitting ourselves to the core values that make HPA so special:
- Integrity: living honestly and with moral courage
- Respect: serving with kindness and responsibility
- Pursuit of excellence: striving for the highest and best result
- Wonder: being curious, appreciative, and content
We take action by a resolute commitment to our mission to provide exceptional learning opportunities in a diverse community, honoring the traditions of Hawai‘i. We take action by continuing and expanding our work to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion. We take action by creating an equitable educational platform that challenges each of us to be critical thinkers, to promote justice, and to courageously tackle change. Finally, as we prepare for the return of our students in August, we take action by committing to working together to build a community that is inclusive and just, ensuring that our school community is safe and welcoming for all.
Families may be wondering how to approach these difficult subjects at home. To help with those conversations, we have included links provided by the National Association of Independent Schools. These resources are designed to facilitate a better understanding of the issues our country is facing right now along with ideas for addressing concerns with your children.
Ke aloha nui,
Office of the Head of School
Resources from NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools)
How to speak to children about traumatic events
- Talking to children after racial incidents (Penn GSE)
- “George Floyd. Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. What do we tell our children?” (USA Today)
How to teach about racism and civil unrest––
- Talking About Race (National Museum of African American History & Culture)
- Beyond the Golden Rule: A Parent’s Guide to Preventing and Responding to Prejudice (Teaching Tolerance)
- Understanding Race and Privilege (National Association of School Psychologists)
How students can take action
- Author Jason Reynolds helps young people understand what led to the protests we’ve seen over the past week and what children can do to build a less racist society.