Some of you might have been in my science class when you were in the Lower School, or a member of the Boys of Color at A-S (BOCAS) or Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA) groups that I continue to co-facilitate with other members of our community. As the chair of the Community Life and Diversity team, we understand how critical it is for Allen-Stevenson to continue, even more forcefully, our commitment to equity and justice.
It is often said that the fastest way to learn a skill is to watch someone do it well and model after them. We must learn to model successful navigations through the minefields of racial intolerance by our own [collective] actions.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu said Africans have a saying called Ubuntu. It is a Zulu word meaning “I am because We are.” At Allen-Stevenson, it is time for the “we” in our community – our students, parents, teachers, staff, administrators, board members, alumni, school supporters, families, and friends – to take a deep look within so that each A-S boy, both past and present, can rightly embrace his own gifts and declare with confidence “I am.”
The outcry on social media against racism and the many schools waking up to the deep-rooted inequities in schools, including Allen-Stevenson, are lighting the way for change. We believe it is both a moral and practical imperative to prepare our students with an education based in anti-racism, inclusivity and equity.
We have made commitments in the past to become a more inclusive and equitable school, yet we have not been fully successful in doing so. Now our community is called to action. We realize that there is much work to be done, but we have started the journey.
Our journey began with our community of administrators, faculty and staff holding inquiry-process meetings, examining our policies, practices, and structures through the lens of equity. We examined how racism and inequities have shaped our systems, policies and practices. Together, we are making a commitment to become an anti-racist and equitable community.
From these conversations we are taking action in all aspects of our community. Our vision of committing to equity and inclusion begins with our curriculum and pedagogy. The school is integrating Pollyanna’s Racial Literacy Curriculum in our 2020-2021 upcoming school year for boys in all grades. Additionally, our Community Life + Diversity committee and the School have created and facilitated a series of summer conversations around race and equity for parents, while the White Anti-Racist Educator (WARE) affinity group has created a summer conversation series for faculty and staff.
We continue to provide spaces and opportunities for our student groups -Gender-Sexuality Alliance, (GSA), Boys of Color at Allen-Stevenson (BOCAS), and Exploring Gender, Race, and Origin (ERGO), to lead courageous conversations. We will also continue our successful mentor/mentee program with BOCAS and our alumni of color.
We have heard the concerns of our entire community and we hereby address forthrightly and courageously the necessary task at hand.
All the best,
Science Faculty, Community Life +Diversity Chair