Student-Led Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiative
By Lily Bowman '21
The goal for a student-led Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiative had been brewing all year, and in wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, I felt an even stronger need for conversation and education surrounding important, and sometimes uncomfortable, topics in our community. I started working with a group of about fifteen students to help lead this initiative and hear their input. This fall, we hope to begin a series of student-led forums, open to everyone, on issues and topics affecting our community. Together, we agreed that the first step should be bringing in guest speakers to voice their personal experiences and share their learnings with us, paving the way for students to share their own stories. In collaboration with the LCS administration, we were able to host the start of many conversations at the school’s first Virtual Summer Student Community Gathering. We were delighted and honoured to have three guest speakers—Maurice Switzer, an alumnus from the Class of '63, Kelly Nottage, former Head Student from the Class of 2000, and Isaac Eshikaty, whom many will know from the LCS IS Department—join us on Wednesday for a student-led panel on diversity, equity and inclusion to share their time, personal stories, and experience with us. The panel was moderated by myself, Nicole Liu '21, and Dylan Clement '21 along with Ms. Kee and with the guidance of Ms. Boomgaardt and Ms. Brown. We explored topics such as microaggressions, holding our peers accountable, and developmental experiences surrounding race and identity. As an incredibly diverse, international school, this conversation was the first of many. It was a wonderful start, and we are so excited for all that is to come.
"While there are many different dimensions to diversity, today’s focus will be race and identity. It will not even begin to cover everything that pertains to Lakefield. As an incredibly diverse, international student body, this is just the beginning of the conversation." — Lily Bowman '21
"When I really think about it, I can't say that there was one experience that was a tipping point. I will say that I believe I was very fortunate in that I was able to travel at a young age with my parents. My sense of who I am from a racial or ethnic point of view was reinforced through those travels... Quite honestly by the time I got to Lakefield I was already indoctrinated into conducting myself in a certain way in public. It's only through looking back and unpacking a lot of that teaching, and now that I'm a parent deciding what it is consciously that I am going to impart unto my children, that I realize the racial element or the ethnic element in what [my parents] were saying." — Virtual Community Gathering, DEI Panelist Kelly Nottage ’00