Community Members Tackle Issues of Race During Courageous Conversations
A new initiative, appropriately named Courageous Conversations, is encouraging faculty and staff to lean into discussions about and to reflect on race.
The brainchild of the School’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force, school employees are taking part in four hour-long discussions over the course of several weeks.
Associate Director of College Counseling Esperanza Borrero, who is chair of the DEI Task Force, explained that the dialogue prompts “are aimed towards self-reflection to better understand race, our own racial identity, and how we can make personal commitments towards being anti-racist and anti-bias.”
“The subcommittee believes that in order to feel competent talking about race you actually have to practice talking about race,” Borrero said. “We hope to become a school where no one in our community would ever shy away from these important conversations for lack of experience.”
In an effort to further the School’s commitments as laid out in A Better Masters action plan, Borrero is confident that the conversations will help faculty and staff “understand what areas they may need to seek out further professional development in order to fulfill our promise to become and anti-racist and anti-bias community.” Beyond this, Borrero noted that in a year where faculty and staff have been unable to connect in ways they normally would, these conversations provide employees with an important and meaningful way to reconnect.
“I think it’s a wonderful first step,” modern and classical languages teacher Richard Simon said. Simon, who facilitates the DEI Task Force’s Courageous Conversations subcommittee, explained that “As community members, we’re coming to these conversations with incredibly different experiences and widely varying levels of comfort even with discussing the issues.” His hope, he shared, is that these four conversations will “deepen people’s understanding of the lived experiences of people who are not like them. I hope everyone who gets to participate in these conversations comes out of them feeling empowered.”