D-E’s Office of Engagement has hit the ground running this year in terms of facilitating, developing, and hosting a rich array of DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging) initiatives. Both Student- and Parent-targeted Affinity Groups have held a variety of events, for their own constituencies and for our entire, extended D-E community.
A Lower School “Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead)” artwork activity enabled wonderful new perspectives and a deeper appreciation for traditional late October celebrations by our youngest students. Día de Los Muertos is widely celebrated in Mexico and is a joyful multi-day holiday that gathers families and friends to pay their respects to those who have passed on. Traditions include decorating family altars with marigold flowers and papel picado as well as making foods like calaveras de azúcar (sugar skulls).
During Diwali, both the Middle and Lower School buildings were adorned with beautiful handmade ‘rangoli’, a traditional sand artwork. Diwali is known as the “Festival of Lights”, a Hindu holiday that celebrates the victory of light over darkness. D-E South Asian families also visited Lower School classrooms and hosted a D-Elicious Diwali Luncheon for faculty and staff.
In recognition of Native American Heritage Month, D-E’s Environmental Club co-founded a workshop with the Office of Engagement for both students and faculty/staff. This workshop, entitled “Indigenous Peoples and Environmental Justice,” was designed so participants could learn about various Indigenous poets and read various poems that showcase the intersectionality between Native Americans and Environmental Justice. Featuring compelling conversation topics and critical thinking, the workshop concluded with a group discussion on what we can do at D-E to further recognize Native American heritage.
The first of several anticipated “Dialogue Dinners” also took place in Hulst House earlier this fall. Mx. Joy Ambler, Associate of Engagement and History Faculty member, shares, “Many D-E students and adults have expressed a desire to learn and share openly about matters that touch our lives: critical, current events in the world, our diverse identities and experiences, issues at school, understanding the differences and commonalities we have with one another, and more. And these can be tough conversations to have! Dialogue Dinners provide a structured yet warm, non-judgmental space to learn and practice specific skills of dialogue across differences, so that we may not only listen to understand, but listen to connect, and deepen our community.”
The Office of Engagement also kicked-off the 2022-2023 “Leaders for Equity and Diversity” (LEAD) Program for Upper School students. Mx. Ambler explains, “The LEAD program allows students to chart a pathway for deepening and developing leadership . Students who elect to be a part of LEAD will be recognized for regular and successful participation in a range of equity / diversity learning and leadership activities through their high school years. The program involves students’ active involvement in equity/ diversity conferences ; participation in facilitation trainings where leaders learn how to design and facilitate equity diversity dialogues; and active involvement in diversity clubs and leading equity-related events.”
D-E students and our extended community can look forward to future, similar workshops and opportunities to engage in DEIB programming, the remainder of this current school year. For more about the Office of Engagement and DEIB initiatives, scan the QR code or visit d-e.org/diversity