@fwpanonymous

Social Media Page Highlights Injustices at Parker

Screenshot+of+%40fwpanonymous%27s+Instagram+page.

Screenshot of @fwpanonymous’s Instagram page.

On Monday, June 22, a photo with a mission statement was posted to the newly-created account @fwpanonymous, asking the Parker community for submissions of stories and experiences of discrimination at Parker, specifically racism, sexism, classism, harassment, homophobia, and xenophobia. Since then, the account has gained over 1,500 followers and created over 150 posts that tell stories and experiences of students, alumni, parents, and Parker community members.

The account administrators identify themselves as an anonymous group of women who vary in race, class, and sexuality. About one week prior to the creation of @fwpanonymous, similar accounts were created at other private schools in Chicago. “We read around those accounts, and we all found ourselves thinking that we’d witnessed or experienced similar things at Parker,” @fwpanonymous said in an email interview. “Once Latin created their page and we began to see its tangible effects on the student body and on the school itself, we decided a page for Parker was not only warranted, but necessary.”

Each post contains a single story, experience, or thought as well as an identifier for the submitter specifying if they are a student, alumni, or parent. In addition, the account has posted links to hotlines for The National Eating Disorder Association and the National Alliance for Mental Illness. “Our primary and most obvious goal is to give students, parents, alumni, faculty, etc., a platform through which to share their stories,” the administrators said. “So many people were or are not able to tell stories of what happened to them at Parker publicly, and creating a space where community members could do that was not only necessary for the good of the school but for the good of the submitters, as well… second to that, we wanted to create a list of experiences that Parker couldn’t ignore.”

Our school is not an island, and we are not immune from the biases, inequities and injustices that have plagued our nation for centuries.”

On Sunday, June 30, an email was sent from the administration and board committing to an anti-racist education. The email promises to, among other things, provide anti-racist and gender inclusive cultural competency training, increase diversity of employees and students, empower the DEI council, and transform Parker’s culture. “Our school is not an island, and we are not immune from the biases, inequities and injustices that have plagued our nation for centuries,” the email said. “We have more of a past than we might want to think…. This is the world we live in. This is the world we will continue to work with others to change. And this work focuses on what we can do to improve the educational experience of all people in our school community.”

“While it’s a good start, it’s not enough,” @fwpanonymous posted in response to this email. The administrators of @fwpanonymous released a letter outlining specific demands for the school to establish an anti-racism curriculum for JK-12, prioritize teaching Black culture and history, support and invest in Black students, centralize the LGBTQ+ experience through a new curriculum, reform the discipline system, and allow and encourage students to share their stories. 

“The demands are comprehensive, and, we believe, will create a better, more inclusive, and more appropriate environment for everyone,” @fwpanonymous said. “The actions we’ve included in our letter are far overdue and aren’t even half of the steps Parker needs to take to become a truly progressive and accepting school, but are a solid start.” The letter has over 200 signatures, including students, alumni, parents, former students, and faculty. 

With over 1,500 followers, the account has received a large amount of attention from the Parker community. “The feedback has been by and large positive. Submitters have thanked us for an opportunity to share their stories, teachers have thanked us for making these narratives available to the adults in the building, and parents and alum have expressed their support,” @fwpanonymous said. 

Senior and Student Government President Carter Wagner hopes that Student Government will take an active role to support @fwpanonymous as well as students at Parker. “What we decided is that Student Government is, and should be, a support,” Wagner said. “It can be the thing that’s twisting the administration’s arm a little bit, if that’s the change we need to see, but we shouldn’t be the ones saying, ‘this is what we need.” We should be the ones accomplishing what needs to be done, and what needs to be done needs to be laid out by the people who have that lived experience of being a BIPOC at Parker, and what that feels like and what they need.”

Wagner also notes the number of followers the account has gained since its start.  “I think it’s definitely been somewhat of a uniting force, which I really appreciate,” Wagner said, “and if you look at the number of subscribers they have, I think it’s pretty telling that there’s three times the number of followers for @fwpanonymous than there is for Parker’s Instagram page.”

“Parker’s culture has been the way it is for far too long, and it is in the hands of the current students, parents, teachers, administrators, staff, so on and so forth, to fix it,” @fwpanonymous said.