Upper School students pledged to Stand Against Racism in support of the signature YWCA campaign which raises awareness about the impact of racism and builds community among those who work for racial justice. This year’s theme “Women of Color Leading Change” focused on the ways institutional and structural racism uniquely impacts the lives of girls of color.
The entire Upper School participated in a community dialogue with student affinity group leaders on micro-aggressions, student experiences, and how we can work together to fight racism. Representatives from the Feminist Student Union, Sisterhood, Jewish Student Union, Asian Student Union, Gay Straight Alliance, and the Student Diversity League led the panel and read student questions while encouraging thoughtful, respectful discourse amongst peers.
Questions ranged from, “How do you deal with someone who is racially insensitive but also a family member?” to “What do you do if you inadvertently offend someone?” Student leaders shared a message of patience, understanding, and respect while reaffirming the importance of supporting arguments with facts and recognizing the different lived experiences people of color face. These honest exchanges between students showed girls it’s okay to have difficult conversations about race and that it’s crucial to work together to eliminate racism once and for all.
Ciera Young, Coordinator of Equity & Inclusion, explained, “Stand Against Racism provided a space for the girls to discuss issues together in public, rather than behind closed doors. When we talk about things like race out in the open, we realize it’s on everyone’s minds and we need to start the conversation. We know students are going to encounter situations around race and we need to brief and prepare them on these issues.”
The Ellis community pursues, supports, and embraces diversity of all kinds, recognizing the collective strength derived from our individual differences. The Upper School specifically delves deeply into topics of diversity through electives like Gender and Power, mini-courses, and senior projects that allow for girls to explore issues of personal, cultural, and political significance.