An Introduction to Diversity , Equity & Inclusion Part 1
South Loop Family,
2019 and the years following have brought about leadership challenges with respect to school and community issues. I have struggled while having conversations with our South Loop Community addressing civil unrest in our city, the display for how we supported our students of color during these times, parent expectations of how I address discipline incidents with students of color vs. students of non-color, and how I handle incidences of bullying involving students of color and non color.
As a leader, I had to search within myself for how to approach these topics. Do I use them as a teachable moment to inform others? Am I being self-reflective enough? Am I expressing empathy and compassion for others’ opinions and experiences, or should I address these issues head on with a firm, hard truth and direct response to hopefully bring about change in thoughts and actions? Regardless of how I handled them, I knew at the core of these issues are the need to support the understanding of misconceptions in order to curb bias-based thinking. These are complex notions, and as a school leader, who is first and foremost an educator, I see it as my role to seek to understand the root causes of issues if I intend to make a lasting impact on them. Because of this, I found it necessary to reach out for assistance with addressing this underlying issue for our school community.
South Loop is a diverse school community representing over 30 nationalities and cultures. We cannot be a united, diverse school community if we have underlying biased, and/or racist beliefs and perceptions. As adults, it is our responsibility to be the example for our children. We cannot expect our children to positively impact change in the world, if different rules apply depending on the situation of who is involved.
As we work to build a stronger, more connected school community, we must understand each other’s diverse perspective. To begin this journey, we have to be self-reflective; understanding who we are as individuals and how our personal life experiences have shaped us. Only then can we begin discussions of how to grow from these experiences.
I know there is no magic fix for this and change will not occur overnight. Times such as these call for each of us to dig deep and have honest and tough conversations with one another. I cannot promise that you will not be challenged or feel uncomfortable throughout this process. However, I can promise you that this work will be well worth it and result in growth for our school community. The workshop will be provided by Arielle Johnson, parent of a sixth grader. Ms. Johnson works full-time as Senior Policy Advisor in the State of Illinois Department of Central Management Services, focusing on Diversity Equity and Inclusion, Procurement and Policy Implementation across state agencies
To assist in this journey, I plan to continue to have guest speakers, courageous conversations and discussions, and provide resources that aid in strengthening our community. All I ask is that each of you come with an open mind, and be ready and willing to do the necessary work to heal and grow stronger as a school community and family.
Please join us on January 24, 2002 at 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Join with Zoom
Join with Meet
DEI-General Participant Guide_.pdf