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.

Stopping the Problem at the Root

By Joshua Hamlett ’22, Participant in the 2020 Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC)

I wanted to have that experience of being in a majority People of Color space and have conversations that are different, and easier to have, with students who have experienced similar things. That’s why I went to SDLC.

I had a really positive experience and met some really nice people. We were able to have productive conversations about the intersections of race and sexuality, how different racial communities interact with each other, and also what activism means, how to be a good activist, how to be a good supporter for other people.

Some of the other students were also from majority white schools, and it felt really good that I wasn’t alone in that experience, that there are people all over who have a very similar experience. I got into the Black Affinity Group and talked with people from all across the country.

You hear people talk about racist incidents that happened with their teachers, but you also hear about how some faculties are doing a better job of dealing with it—how that’s improved in their schools. And not seeing that same change in your own school can be extremely frustrating and aggravating.

I came to Catlin in second grade, and I’ve had a decent experience. But I know that there are a lot of people—that I know and I’m close with—who did not have as much of a positive experience as I had. So my message to the administration, to the adults on campus, whether it be parents, teachers, other staff, is this: Listen to your students. Take what they say really seriously. We’re looking for you to cut away some full grown flowers, to nip other problems at the bud, and then to ultimately stop the problem at the root going forward.