Students Tackle Issues Through an Intersectional Lens

Harnessing the power of diverse voices and shared experiences, upper school community members participated in workshops centered on this year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. commemoration theme: “Not Done: He Had a Dream But We’re Still Caught in a Nightmare.”

During the event, which took place on January 12, Associate Head for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Roland Davis encouraged students to view issues through an intersectional lens and talk about subjects that focused on marginalized perspectives and groups, including BIPOC, LGBTQ+ people, women-identified people, recent immigrants to the United States, poor and working people, among others.

The afternoon included 20 workshops organized and facilitated by students and supported by faculty. Topics included cultural identity, modern day racism, poetry of the Harlem Renaissance, attacks on transgender adults and youth, and Black women’s relationship with the beauty industry, among others. The workshops were presented in interactive, lecture or peer-to-peer formats.

In preparation for the day’s events, Jovelysa Molina ’26 and Evie Leighton ’26 reached out to upper school visual arts teacher Luke Wilde to help them run an “Art for Activism” workshop.

“It opened my eyes to the different issues that students have on their minds,” Wilde said. “One student was thinking of women's rights and the identity of being a woman, and there were also students thinking about race and skin color and how their identity is perceived that way and how you can represent that in art.”

Molina explained that art activism is just as meaningful as other forms of activism like protesting or boycotting: “It’s important for people to express their ideas and opinions and art is one of the ways you can do that.”

Matthias Sandoval ’24 and Isabella Vargas ’24 led a standing-room-only “Code-Switching” discussion which concentrated on the definition of code-switching and how it can affect people of color. 

“There was also discussion about whether or not code-switching could be viewed as something good or bad depending on certain situations,” Sandoval said. “It is a topic that we’re well versed in. We love to talk about it and share our knowledge with others who are interested in learning about it.”
“Walking from workshop to workshop, students were engaged, they were connecting with the material and they were being supportive of their peers,” Davis shared. “It was a remarkable day.”

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