The Westminster Schools, an inclusive educational and spiritual community, embraces and values the unique qualities and traits of each of its members. We recognize that an informed understanding of one’s own identity not only contributes to the development of a healthy, empowered young adult but also enhances the learning experience for each and every member of the community. Consequently, we celebrate our growing diversity through protection and exploration of individual difference articulated along a wide spectrum that includes, but certainly is not limited to race, class, gender, religion, and sexual orientation.
|Faculty and Staff to Attend "Whites Confronting Racism" Seminar|
Westminster will host the seminar, "Whites Confronting Racism," from equity and inclusion consultant Dr. Ali Michael. Twenty Westminster administrators, faculty, and staff members will attend the seminar March 1-3. The intimate three-day workshop experience is designed for "white people who want to challenge racism around them and in their own heads and hearts," while gaining deeper understanding about social justice work, educational models, and personal racial identity development.
Dr. Ali Michael is a Philadelphia-based educator, facilitator, and filmmaker specializing in community building and best practices for helping independent and public schools create supportive and culturally responsive classrooms for children.
|December Faculty Lunch & Learn Explores Colorism|
Faculty and staff will connect on Wednesday, December 7 at 11:30 a.m.
over lunch and have a discussion with film director Nayani Thiyagarajah and producer Camaro West. Their documentary, "Shadeism: Digging Deeper", tackles the issue of colorism in global communities. The film focuses on the issue of skin tone and certain shades being considered better than others within the same community. According to the filmmaker, the topic was never missing from conversation while growing up and though she was able to feel its presence among family and friends, she did not have the language to name it. In 2009, a conversation with her young niece forced Thiyagarajah to face the fact that the community cannot continue to ignore this issue or its repercussions. In the film, she begins to recover and reimagine what beauty means for women around the world. You can watch a trailer of the documentary here
|Diwali Celebration on November 11|
Westminster students will participate in a mini Diwali celebration on Friday, November 11, with a display, snack samples, and well wishes during lunch. The annual holiday known as Diwali or Deepavali (row of lights) dates back to ancient times in India as a harvest festival and is traditionally the most significant holiday of the year. It is also a spiritual recognition of the triumph of good over evil. While primarily known as a Hindu festival since it coincides with the Hindu New Year, Diwali is celebrated by Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains for different reasons. Occurring in late October or early November, the celebration lasts for five days and includes the lighting of oil lamps or diyas, candles, fireworks, and colorfully decorated homes with prayers, family, and meals.
|Diá de los Muertos 2016|
November 1 and 2 mark the official celebration of the Mexican holiday, Diá de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. This holiday is celebrated in the central and southern regions of Mexico and by people of Mexican descent living around the world. The multi-day holiday centers around family and friends remembering and honoring family members who have died, as well as helping to support their spiritual journey. Café con Leche, Westminster's student Hispanic and Latino/a affinity group, created an altar display outside Malone Dining Hall which features candles, food, masks, and other items significant to the holiday ritual.
|Westminster Faculty of Color Cohort Attends Kickoff PoCIS Meeting|
The People of Color in Independent Schools (PoCIS) Atlanta Chapter held its kickoff meeting in October. Participants brainstormed ideas and discussed the structure for future sessions and networking opportunities with teachers, administrators, and staff from independent schools in Georgia.
Twelve Westminster faculty and staff attended the session, which included team building and icebreaker activities for a group of nearly one hundred attendees. The local PoCIS group is spearheaded by Roberta Osorio, an administrator at the Galloway School, and is open to people of color working in independent school environments as a forum for support, mentoring, affinity, affirmation, collaboration, and community building.
|Circle of Women Club Hosts Film Screening|
Westminster's Circle of Women student club will commemorate "International Day of the Girl" with a screening of the documentary, He Named Me Malala, on Wednesday, October 19 in the Upper School library. The film details the story of Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai, an international children's' educational rights advocate. View the film trailer.
|Identity, Affinity, and Allyship with Consultant Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee|
Consultant Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee, a nationally known equity and inclusion trainer, continued with ongoing work in the Westminster community in September, spending time with Lower and Middle School faculty, students, administrators, and parents.
The focus for this visit was "Identity, Affinity, and Allyship" with sessions that explored the value of affinity dialogue for students and adults as well as exploring what the term "Asian" means and how Asian-American students and schools negotiate stereotypes, culture, and identity on campuses. School leadership also explored ways to continue anti-bias work in education and to strategize about ways to make institutions safe and culturally competent places for all students to thrive.
|Dr. Imani Perry - A Conversation About Race|
|Learn more about the Student Diversity Leadership Council (SDLC) in this student-produced video.|