The Revelation

THE AID TO PROGRESS

st. andrew's introduces diversity groups

Sofia Rodriguez, Staff Writer

     New to the SA student schedule, the Diversity Committee has recently brought “diversity groups” to the Upper School, giving more people a voice to talk about diversity and inclusion.

    These groups offer information and allow discussions about certain issues, which are not focused on in some students’ daily lives. Diversity Groups meet monthly and each group contains students ranging from each grade, a faculty facilitator, and a student facilitator. The facilitators lead the discussions about how the entire student body can be more aware of today’s society, as a whole. The topics range from economic inequality to sexual orientation.

      With the varying grades of students in each group, each student is given the opportunity to talk amongst new people and share similar or different perspectives on certain topics.

    Assistant Director of Diversity Jharick Shields is one of the sponsors for diversity groups and initiated the formation of those diversity groups.

    “I believe that the diversity committee wanted to figure out a way to teach peers about diversity and provide a space where marginalized voices can be heard,” Shields said. “They began this year.”

    The diversity groups were put in place to give students a more well-rounded education about diversity.  

    “Ideally, we should be respectful of our differences,” Shields said. “I think that reaching that point, or having students think that we have reached that point would lessen the need for this programming.”

     SA Senior Clay Morris serves as a student facilitator for one of the many groups and is a supporter for them to continue after his graduation this spring.

    “I feel that for diversity groups, it’s important to understand other people’s perspectives on how other people feel about certain topics,” Morris said. “At school it’s very easy to be sheltered within your friend group, but the groups help you learn new things.”

    The groups also serve as a space for the students to simply converse about issues of today’s society. The facilitators allow for others to speak, while at the same time chiming in on the conversations to provide additional information.

     “I feel like it makes it easier for people to listen to me and how I feel about things, since I’m a facilitator,” Morris said. “It’s really fun for me to be able to pick through people’s brains and be able to see their feelings on certain concepts.”

    The faculty involved in the groups serve as those who can offer more suggestions. School Chaplain Father Kirk LaFon serves as one of the faculty facilitators and shows his support of the new Diversity Groups.

    “The purpose of these groups is to make us even more open and inclusive and to create a better understanding among members of the community so that we are more of an authentic and trusting community,” LaFon said. “Part of our mission as an Episcopal School is to be inclusive and to educate everyone in our community in ways that help us honor every person’s dignity.”

    The Diversity Groups let students and faculty not only converse with each other about a variety of subjects, but it also lets those in the groups be comfortable with the environment around them.

 

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