PPDI Hosts Unity Day Community Event with Special Guest Greg Louganis

On Wednesday, October 21, Viewpoint’s PPDI (Parent Partnership for Diversity and Inclusivity) LGBTQ+ Parent Affinity Group hosted a panel discussion to celebrate Unity Day. Doctors Carolyn and Teri Quetzál P’23, David Tutera and Joey Toth P’31, and special guest Olympic diver, mentor, and activist Greg Louganis shared their stories and experiences of being openly gay, and what it means to show kindness, practice acceptance, and be inclusive.

PPDI Co-President Cachi Baier P’18 ’23 began the evening by giving the history of Unity Day, “October is National Bullying Prevention Month. This campaign was founded in 2006 by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. Its mission is to unite communities and educate the nation on bullying prevention. Unity Day is a day in which we wear orange as a united message to show kindness, acceptance, and inclusion. These three powerful strategies can make a significant impact in how we treat each other.”

The panel included parents David Tutera and Joey Toth. David Tutera is a motivational speaker, author of seven books, and has hosted and produced over 10 television shows. Joey Toth is COO of the David Tutera brand and has expanded the brand to a global household name. Dr. Teri Quetzál has run her own holistic wellness practice for the past 20 years. Dr. Carolyn Quetzál designs and directs remote learning and instructional technology in the Los Angeles Unified School District. A writer and sought-after presenter, she was selected Innovator of the Year by Los Angeles Regional Adult Education Consortium in 2019, and received the 2020 Excellence in Education award for her contributions and advocacy in the area of educational equity.

They were joined by Olympian, activist, and author Greg Louganis. He has earned a total of five Olympic medals, five World Championship titles, and 47 national titles — more than any person in U.S. history. As an activist for HIV awareness and LGBTQ+ rights, humanitarian, and motivational speaker, Greg’s life story has inspired millions.

The five panelists generously shared their own stories, which included difficult memories of shame, misunderstanding, and discrimination. Despite these experiences, all of them live their lives with great positivity and hope for a world where difference is accepted and celebrated. Greg shared two pieces of invaluable advice for all of us:

1.     “It is important to teach that there are moments when it is vitally important to stand up and speak, and there are other times when it is best to sit down and really listen.”

2.      “Make everywhere you go better than when you found it.”

Dr. Carolyn Quetzál agreed with Mr. Louganis and added her thoughts, “Listening well, using affirming language, and modeling acceptance in our homes will go a long way in supporting kindness and inclusion in our school community and beyond.”

She then shared her feelings on the importance of getting together for these kinds of conversations, “PPDI Events, regardless of topic or sponsoring Affinity Group, empower participant parents with the gift of perspective. It's a chance to listen with care, reflect, and discover both potential for growth within ourselves, as well as new places for compassion for others. By means of providing a safe space to go beyond our innate experiences, PPDI encourages us to become stronger role models for our children and to be better world citizens.” 

It was an inspiring evening for all in attendance. Cachi concluded by saying, “Nothing makes me prouder of our community, which has come together this evening in UNITY. If we can show each other kindness in the most difficult moments, acceptance in times of diversity, and inclusion always, our community comes together stronger.”