2020-21 Voices of Change Essay Series

community members activate advances in catlin gabel curriculum and culture

While diversity, equity, and inclusion work has been a growing priority for the school in recent years, community involvement has accelerated as well. Students, parents, teachers, staff, and alumni have stepped up and are helping drive our ongoing evolution by taking action. They’re forming affinity groups, partaking in conferences, initiating diversity-focused fundraising campaigns, collecting empirical data, and documenting their lived experiences. The following stories represent a small sampling of this involvement.

From Conversations to Actions

By Alyson Day, Parent and member of the Board Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee

I joined the Board DEI Committee four years ago when my daughter was accepted into the Middle School in sixth grade. I was new to the school, and saw the lack of brown kids in particular, and I wanted to make sure that I was an advocate for those voices.

We have a lot of really difficult conversations. It’s not easy for people to go down those paths, but I’ve seen Tim [Bazemore] and the administration really open up to having a forum that tackles some of the initiatives. I see an openness for dialogue, vulnerability, and communication that I think is a step in the right direction.

We’ve talked about representation in the school faculty, how important it is for students to see examples of teachers and leaders who look like them. And making sure the school is accessible for more children of color. We know that we are not there. So, there is a consciousness around how we get there. I really appreciate how Jasmine [Love] is spearheading these kinds of conversations and keeping it front of mind. As a parent of a brown child, that to me, is important.

I think the challenge is how do you shift from conversations to actions? I do feel the school is making a concerted effort to be more actionable, and to really foster this space of awareness and inclusivity. There is an authentic approach to this work, and a striving to do better; I feel that the school’s doing the work to make those changes. I look at the Lower School and I see the kids that are coming in, and I can see the shift, and that’s an exciting thing. It allows us to know that we’re moving in the right direction.