As part of its commitment to fostering a diverse, inclusive, and equitable community, Shipley published its DEI Strategic Plan
in March 2021. Though in principle all members of our community might understand what we mean by Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, sometimes the work can seem ambiguous. We asked members of our community to reflect on what DEI means to them.
Asian Student Alliance
To us, diversity, equity, and inclusion means having a variety of people from different backgrounds in our community who can be themselves without reservation or fear of judgement. It means having the opportunities to be able to share our cultures and have others willing to learn and be respectful. Equity is about creating fair access, opportunity, and advancement for all those different people. Inclusion involves a collective effort and practices so that people of different backgrounds feel included and heard, and where no one feels singled out. We, the Asian Student Alliance, value DE&I and strive to continue improving our community. Black Student Union
Diversity means having a community with a plethora of different identities (including but not limited to racial, cultural, religious, gender, sexuality, socio-economic status, and ability) represented. Equity, not to be confused with equality, is when people are given resources based on their individual needs. Equity is important, particularly for Black students as a minority group on campus; we need to be able to hold space and have confidants within the faculty in order to deal with the added pressures of attending a predominantly white school. Inclusion is when we all can show up and be our authentic selves, and not only be accepted but celebrated for our differences. As Black students on campus, both students and teachers have preconceived notions of who we are and where we come from, and whether those biases are implicit or not, they affect our daily experiences. It is imperative that we as a community can come together and educate ourselves in order to make our school a safe space for its Black members. Hopefully in the future, with Shipley prioritizing DEI work, it can become a place where all people truly feel welcomed.
Jewish Cultural and Leadership Club
At the beginning of this school year, I’ve started to think about the ways that some of the dynamics we have learned to identify and condemn—racism, antisemitism, misogyny—nevertheless play out within spaces that are dedicated to the advocacy of marginalized groups. Within my capacity as a co-head of the Jewish Cultural and Leadership Club, I have spent time educating my fellow members—and myself—on the legitimacy of patrilineal Jews, those who have converted to Judaism, Sephardic Jews, and Jews of color, amongst other sects of Judaism that are less familiar to the club members (even talking about my own individual identity, too, as I am both Hispanic and Jewish). These experiences have opened my eyes to worlds of Judaism that are completely different from my understanding. During the past few weeks, I have started reading articles written by Sephardic and Black Jewish writers so that I can better understand the perspectives of those inhabiting unique identities and the struggles they face within their own community. As we look ahead to further changes, we can continue to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in school. I hope that other club leaders such as myself can understand, embrace, and celebrate the diversity within diverse communities, as we work towards strengthening our inter-club education, community, and awareness.
Shipley LGBTQ+ Alumni Association
As the Shipley LGBTQ+ Alumni Association, we exist to foster the ongoing growth and development of LGBTQ+ students, alumni, and colleagues, as well as support the School’s efforts in executing its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategic Plan.
We acknowledge that there is no one “correct” way to describe what diversity, equity, and inclusion is or what it means to any one individual.
For some of us, it is about being recognized for who we are so that we can be our true authentic selves in a space which allows us to feel and be safe. We want our stories, lived experiences, and talents acknowledged, reflected, and affirmed in our communities.
For others, it is about appreciating different experiences, perspectives, and opinions, as well as allowing and supporting self-expression in a meaningful and impactful way.
What we do know is that DE&I must be about individuals at whatever stage in their lives being valued and respected for who they are in the space in which they find themselves in (whether that be school, home, work, community, etc.)
On an institutional level, it means taking responsibility and being accountable for creating an environment for all to grow and thrive, which can be seen through visible commitment, representation, and support.
On an individual level, it is demonstrated through efforts and actions designed to make sure each person is welcomed, included, and treated fairly.