Dear Miss Porter's,
When people ask me what my experience at Porter's was like, I automatically begin smiling and start reminiscing on all the amazing memories I made with my sisters. I remember the sleepovers, the laughs, and the pictures.
However, I purposely block out the pain, the tears, the fear, and the trauma. It's amazing how many terrible moments I was able to laugh off because I was unable to process them accordingly.
To my Porter's classmates to whom I have not spoken in years, I would first like to say your response lacks authenticity. Stop texting me, I do not care for what you have to say. As your token black friend, please leave me alone. I haven't spoken to the majority of you in years and you have taken it upon yourself to message me and voice your support and always end it with "I'm not asking you to respond to me, just wanted to let you know."
Well, let me tell you I do not want to talk to you about my experience at Miss Porter's because I have already done so — but you weren't listening. What took you so long to realize that you should have stood up for me? At normal high schools, it is easier to spot a racist student. It was a little harder at Porter's because it was hard to tell if it was the girl you brush your teeth with every morning, your group partner, or even your roommate.
My first year at Miss Porter's I took a history of Africa course. As a black student, I always wanted to learn more black history and I thought this would be a great start. As we were getting further into the units, my history professor created an activity in order for us to further our understanding. This activity required us to turn off the lights, play ocean sounds, and for the students to lie extremely close to each other under a Harkness table. This activity was designed to teach us the trauma that black slaves went through on the slave ships.
What she failed to realize was that this itself activity was a racist activity, inappropriate and traumatizing to young black girls.
I remember when I sat in both the dean of students and the head of the school's office crying on multiple occasions. The first time is when an underclassman called me the N-word. This was my first overt experience of racism and the school did nothing to help me. When I brought it up, I was told I needed proof that the event had occurred. When I was finally able to get proof of the event, the school did nothing to punish the perpetrator because there was nothing in the handbook stating what they did was wrong. They got to walk around without a care in the world.
Junior year there was a text chain circulating around campus that it was "n***a week" and to show love to your favorite n***a.
When this happened, the school didn't support us, our black mothers did. Our mothers emailed the school, showed up for their daughters, and screamed as loud as they could. But nothing changed. The black women and other women of color in the community stood up for us and gave us a safe place for us to communicate our actions and our fears of attending our current institution.
I wanted to take this time to say thank you to the three women who have continuously supported me throughout my Porter's career and have continued to support me after I graduated.
Thank you, Ms. E, for taking it upon yourself to make sure I knew who you were, where you lived, and had your phone number, because your home has always remained open to me.
Thank you, Susan, for fighting for me, for hearing my concerns, and striving to take action every day that you are there.
Thank you, Alix, for empowering me to be proud of being a black woman, for helping me truly shine and love myself.
And lastly, thank you to my fellow black sisters. Among each other, we were able to be unapologetically black. We gave each other the love and support we were so desperately craving. I will forever have a space for you in my heart.
Miss Porter's, as an institution, needs to change — and it needs to change now because it is unacceptable.
The Black Lives Matter Movement began prior to 2020, where were you then? Where was the public AND private support for black students, when we chose to stay silent at school to show you all what is missing when black voices are silenced? The support was nonexistent because you didn't support us. Teachers fought against our stand by calling on us to speak and by telling us we needed to participate in discussions. These actions illustrated that our stance was not respected nor valued.
I will never believe a single word out of this institution's mouth until I see change. I have been out of Porter's for four years and that trauma haunts me. You owe me and my fellow black Ancients one hell of an apology because it is extremely overdue.
Until then, please keep your fake feelings for someone else.
Miss Porter's has constantly let me down, made me uncomfortable, and taught me terrible coping mechanisms for my feelings. I was a child. I was 15. My parents let me go to boarding school because they believed you all would enhance my education.
I did not learn how to shape a changing world.
I did not learn how to be a Porter's girl.
I learned how to shut up.
I learned that my voice didn't have the value I thought it did.
I learned that the white girl was better than me.
So actually, Porter's, you have disappointed both myself and my family because you didn't protect me. You didn't love me. You were not there for me when you were supposed to step up to the plate.
Porter's was set up to make you all comfortable, not me. I was a statistic, I was a token black friend, I was a footnote in your story, but I won't be anymore and until there is change, I don't want Farmington to be my home.
Cameryn "Cammi" Lacey
- 5 Reasons Cultural Appropriation Perpetuates Racism ›
- COVID-19 Is No Excuse For Racism ›
- Diversity Is Beautiful ›
- How An All-Girls Boarding School Prepared Me For College ›
- U.S. Businesses Must Take Meaningful Action Against Racism ›
- Speaking up on racism - Apple ›
- Diversity - YouTube ›
- From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation | Keeanga-Yamahtta ... ›
- Top All-Girls Boarding Schools (2020) | BoardingSchoolReview.com ›
- Miss Porter's School in Farmington, CT - Niche ›
- Miss Porter's School - Home | Facebook ›
- Miss Porter's School School History ›