Today, Viewpoint’s Middle and Upper School Students participated in the School’s Fifth Annual (and first virtual) Diversity Leadership Day. With 40 different workshops proposed and led by students, with faculty advisors present, Diversity Leadership Day offers a unique opportunity for students to explore and discuss the issues that are of greatest concern to them. The topics, to name just a few, included Boys 2 Men - Redefining Manhood for the Future; Social Media: Politics, Society, and Change; Our Role in Creating a Better Gaming Community; Clocking Hate: Identifying and Combating Anti-LGBTQ+ Prejudice; Being Jewish in an Anti-Semitic World; The Latinx/Hispanic Experience at Viewpoint School; and “Ouch... I Know That Wasn’t Okay, But What Do I Say?”: Strategies for Finding the Courage to Say Something.
The day began with a few words from Head of School Mark McKee, who reminded the students that “diversity is a fact; leadership is a choice” and that Viewpoint is preparing its students to be leaders.
The Opening Keynote Speaker Arisela Hernandez, a Program Associate for the organization “Facing History and Ourselves,” presented historic examples of youth leadership and activism, giving students the opportunity to reflect on and gain insight into their own opportunities to make an impact in the world today. The Closing Keynote remarks from Joan Edwards (pictured), the Director of Equity at Kingswood Oxford in Connecticut, reminded students to bring their whole selves to the work of change.
Lizz Melendez, Viewpoint Middle School Social Studies teacher, Coordinator of Diversity, and one of the organizers of the event, said, “Today brought us together as a community and gave us a moment to discuss topics related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. Some have these conversations often, while for others, today may have been the first time they thought about the topics of the workshops. Regardless of where you are on that spectrum, thank you to everyone who participated for being open to learning and willing to engage today.”