GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — Andrews High School Principal Marcus Gause and Page High School Principal Erik Naglee have been challenging one another since their days carpooling to grad school at UNC-Chapel Hill. A traffic stop brought race into their conversation.
“We both knew there needed to be a safe place. So we had that conversation of, ‘Hey let’s talk about this. No judgment,'” Naglee said.
It was new to them.
“I think he and I are alike in that we didn’t have safe places to talk about race growing up,” Naglee said. “So that’s really what we’re trying to create whether that be for our students that we lead each and every day, whether that be for our staff members or out in the general community as well.”
We told you about their efforts to create that for students. This month they launched an effort to do the same for grown folks.
“We thought about it after going through what we called some trainings that were complete fails,” Gause explained. “Some of the trainings we experienced previously were more or less, ‘This is the blame game, this is who’s responsible, and this is why you’ve got to do something different.’ Those conversations never lead to change.”
Their effort is called Greyt Expectations.
“We all understand that there’s Black and white,” Gause said. “But there’s also grey, and together black and white make grey. So we approach the Greyt Expectation from the perspective of if we can come in with the mindset of grey it allows us to understand and be open-minded to receive information from the Black, the white, and whoever else may be a part of the conversations.”
“We all know words matter,” Naglee added. “So sometimes it may not be said the exact way, but you have to go into conversations whether it be race, religion, whether it be gender, gender identity. You have to go in with an open mind that the person on the other side of the table or sitting beside you means well in what they’re saying.”
They say the response so far has been encouraging.
“The powerful thing that came is some of the things that come after, which are questions. ‘I didn’t want to ask this question in front of everybody else but do you mind answering this or addressing this for me, or tell me your perspective on how to handle this particular situation,'” Gause said.
“None of us can change history that are sitting here. It’s how we respond to that history and how we utilize it as an opportunity for growth,” Naglee said.
And the opportunities to grow are endless.
The Greyt Expectations Twitter handle just went live last week. Their website will be up soon, and they hope to be fully launched and operational by November.