On Tuesday, March 21, Viewpoint’s Middle and Upper School students participated in the School’s Seventh Annual Diversity Leadership Day (DLD). With 54 different workshops initiated and led by students, with the support of faculty advisors, Diversity Leadership Day offers a unique opportunity for students to explore and discuss the issues that are of greatest concern to them.
To open and close the day’s activities, the Middle School students had the opportunity to hear two legendary Olympic athletes, tennis champion Pam Shriver and diver Greg Louganis, speak about their extraordinary careers and their roles in making their respective sports better for women and members of the LGBTQ community.
During the opening program, Mr. Louganis spoke about his world-record-making diving career, which included winning Gold medals at the 1984 and 1988 Olympics, and what motivated him to excellence. He then shared his experience coming out as gay and HIV positive in 1995, which at the time sent shock waves throughout the sports world and led him to become an activist for LGBTQ rights. He also spoke about his personal commitment to making the world a better place through small acts of kindness.
The Upper School students began the day by watching excerpts from the recent production of Viewpoint: Our Stories. Our Voices. Our Stage. (VOSOVOS), which was presented by the Upper School Conservatory of Theatre, the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Life, and guest artist Monica Hannush. This new, original, and student-led theatrical production pulls back the curtain on the thoughts and experiences of our students allowing them to share with the community in an entirely new way.
The students were able to attend two different sessions of their choosing. The workshops included, to name just a few, Black Beauty; Coloring Our Histories: Celebrating the Similarities Between Native Americans and Jews Through Art; Destigmatizing Mental Health Issues; Different Foods, Different Cultures, Same Unity; Gender Roles and Stereotypes in the Media; Latin America: Differences and Similarities; LGBTQ figures and Their Impact on the World; Living Abroad and Respecting Cultural Differences; Pink Doesn't Mean Weak - Women's Rights and Opportunities; A Polynesian Dance Experience; Understanding Identity through the Iranian Revolution; What Is Diversity? Why Does It Matter?; and Young Change-Makers: Young People Helped to Build a More Inclusive Society and You Can, Too!
The Middle Schoolers ended their day with an inspiring talk from Pam Shriver, American Tennis Champion, Olympic Gold Medalist, International Tennis Hall of Fame Inductee, ESPN and Tennis Channel Broadcaster, and a Viewpoint parent. Ms. Shriver talked about her love of the game, her long and storied career, and the challenges women have faced on the road to achieving economic parity with men in the sport. The students were eager to hear her stories and listen to her advice. It was an excellent way to end a day filled with so much personal exploration and meaning.
“I love that DLD 2023 was totally student-centered, and that everyone had the opportunity to creatively share and learn about everyday choices, challenges, and triumphs that students face,” said Patricia Jackson, Director of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Life.
Each year, we feel that the conversations on these critical topics advance, and we already are looking ahead to next year’s Diversity Leadership Day.