Viewpoint’s Fourth Annual Diversity Leadership Day
On February 5, Viewpoint held the Fourth Annual Diversity Leadership Day for the students in the Middle and Upper Schools. The day included inspiring performances, speakers, 45 student-led workshops, and a skill-building workshop for having difficult conversations.
Keynote speaker Gyasi Ross, a Native American author, attorney, rapper, speaker, and storyteller, set a positive tone for the day by encouraging the students to embrace the opportunity to share their stories and to listen to the stories of others. Mr. Gyasi shared his belief that “storytelling is the most powerful tool in the world,” and it is through days like Diversity Leadership Day that we have the chance to hear stories “that should have been told before” and to normalize inclusion.
The workshops, developed and presented by the students, opened up conversations on race, religion, politics, sexuality, socioeconomic diversity and privilege, representation in social media, body image, and mental health. An underlying theme for many of these sessions was the importance of showing compassion to everyone despite possible differences.
The concluding session, led by Dr. Liza Talusan, required the students to interact with their peers and to initiate conversations on potentially difficult topics. She also shared a video of pairs of strangers talking to each other in a ball pit. In each instance, these pairs seemingly had nothing in common, but through their conversation, they not only found common ground, but also made a true human connection, which often included a hug.
Like the ball pit conversations, Diversity Leadership Day provided a safe space for the exchange of ideas, opinions, and stories. The aim of Diversity Leadership Day is to open channels for further dialogue and to create a more connected community, where everyone feels at home.