Alumni letter penned to Harvard-Westlake

This is a copy of a letter addressed to the school administration, published with permission of Keren Johnson.

We don’t know how to open this letter. We have so much to say and yet so few words to express the range of emotions that we are feeling right now as a community of Harvard Westlake alumni. But we choose to speak up.

We see the news and witness the tragic, senseless, continuous killings of Black people in this country. We watch social media videos and see white privilege being used in a way that causes great emotional and physical harm to Black people. And we question our role as allies.

See, we know these Black people. They are Wolverines who we have been with in classes, on teams, in the Chronicle room and remain friends with well into adulthood. We grab drinks together. We do business together. We are there for one another when one of us gets married, has a child or loses a loved one.

We also are these Black people. We are the Wolverines who both experienced Harvard Westlake as a safe space and also one that allowed for constant micro and macro aggressions. We studied a world history curriculum with no mention of African history. We participated in CIF championships only to be ridiculed for being on athletic scholarships or called the N-word in the locker room. We would’ve been suspended for infractions that we did not commit were it not for Black faculty and staff investigating the truth of the matter. And we remain in this duality, in a country that kills us one day and expects us to come to work and school the next.

Collectively, we are exhausted and drained. However, if our time together at H-Dub has taught us anything, it is to press on, together, despite the obstacles.

“To whom much is given, much is expected.” We expect our Harvard Westlake community to serve as allies in the fight against racism. We need all Wolverines to take a stance on the right side of history and to commit to thoughtful, decisive action in favor of racial justice. Will you join us?

Signed, HW alumni

Keren Johnson ’02

Anita Schmidt ’02

*Other signatures were omitted in this copy of the letter.