The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee presented “Conversations Not Had,” an interactive assembly for the students and faculty that asked the audience to think about identity, mental health, and allyship.
To begin, audience members were asked to stand when a group with which they identify was named. Categories included preferred streaming service, birth order, languages spoken at home, racial/ethnic/cultural heritage, socioeconomic status, parent education level, and more. Students in the auditorium audience stood to identify themselves with a particular group, while others watching in classrooms filled in survey forms if they chose.
Next, students presented their experiences and thoughts on a variety of topics, sharing personal stories about mental health, self-care in a pandemic, adoption, racial and national identity, and allyship. Interspersed between the student presentations were thought-provoking videos, and Cameo video appearances from actor David Henrie, Kendall Schmidt from Big Time Rush, and, singer and actress Coco Jones.
DEI Committee president senior Kalise Mack closed the presentation with a powerful reflection on the effects of social media, and her own experiences as the nation struggled with racial injustice issues over the summer and beyond.
“Social media has also brought to our eyes more deaths, killings, and violence than ever seen before,” Mack noted. “And as a black girl in today’s America, this can be especially scary, when the ones on your timelines share the same skin as you, the same wounds as you, the same inequality as you, and the same racism as you.”
She continued, “I also believe that social media has the power to do some good. It has been an excellent resource for educating us all in the systemic racism that continues to oppress Black people today. Along with education, these platforms can all be used to create change.”
Mack called on everyone in the audience to speak up. “I am the leader of a movement that should not have needed to be put into existence in the first place… So it is important to reach out to those who will continue to speak up against inequality even after this speech not only for a summer but for a lifetime.”
She urged everyone, “Start small by educating yourself.” She closed her remarks and the assembly by quoting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
Thank you to the members of the DEI Committee and all the presenters for an honest and challenging program.