News at Buckley

An Update from the Office of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

Chuck Neddermeyer & Ralinda Watts
Throughout these unprecedented times, the Office of DEI continues their engagement, connection, facilitation, and participation in conversations locally, regionally, and nationally through a lens of equity. 
The office continues its weekly meetings with Upper School students within the Diversity Club, offering mentorship and support to students as they grapple with the realities of not being on campus. Buckley’s Middle School Diversity Club continues to meet, supporting the Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) needs of students. In the Lower School, Culture Club meetings are offered to every grade level, allowing for connectivity and joy during remote learning. To maintain consistency, these student engagement opportunities continue to meet, as they provide a space for students to process their feelings, emotions, and ideas. Our student voices are powerful and we understand the importance of uplifting them. 
Here are some highlights on how the Office of DEI continues to engage the Buckley community:
Diversity Club
Diversity Club meetings are in full swing, with students focusing many of their conversations at the intersection of equity and COVID-19. We recently created a video that encompasses some of the topics of our discussions including a lovely thank you to all of the essential workers for all they do and continue to do to keep us safe during this challenging time. Click here to access the video.
In addition, elections for next year’s Executive Board will be taking place. The group is excited to host alumni and former club presidents, Nish Muthusamy ‘16 and Jalyn Taylor ‘16, to their last meeting of the year! 
Intersections of Identity
Our ninth graders are busy wrapping up their final projects, which is a culmination of their work, led by Ms. Watts and Mr. Gaskins. Students document their year of learning in the form of a podcast, where they choose their favorite topic explored this year in class bringing awareness to topics such as gentrification, implicit bias, Middle Eastern Identity, religion and more. Selected podcasts will be submitted to the New York Times Student Podcast Competition.
Black Student Union
Senior Alyssa W., president of the Black Student Union, was recently featured in the May issue of Ventura Blvd Magazine as the top 10 Valley teenagers, for her social justice activism and leadership of the BSU throughout her time at Buckley. Alyssa will attend Harvard in the fall where she will major in East Asian Studies. Vivian J. ‘23, will lead as next year’s BSU President. Congratulations, Vivian!
Affinity Groups
The LAMBDA Affinity Group for LGBTQ+, students in partnership with the GSA, worked collaboratively to recognize the National Day of Silence, which was observed remotely on April 25. They are also working to offer thoughtful student narratives on the experiences of queer youth. Be on the lookout for this project on the Buckley At Home page, coming soon. 
May is Asian American Heritage Month and the Asian American Student Association (AASA) encourages you to learn more about the accomplishments of Asians in art, science, education, and politics. A special acknowledgement to AASA presidents, seniors, Jane W., and Brooke B. for their thoughtful leadership this year as well as presenting a symposium on the topics of transracial adoption and the myth of the model minority. 

Diaspora recently attended the Empowerment and Engagement Conference, a local leadership conference for Black/African-American students who attend private and independent schools in Southern California.
Latinos Unidos! 
Our LatinosUnidos affinity, led by Nohemi Salazar, continues to meet, and the group is thinking ahead to the fall of 2020, where they will plan the Latinx Heritage Month Assembly in September.
The Middle Eastern Affinity Group hosted their first meetings earlier in the semester and offered an opportunity to connect a diversity of experiences, religious backgrounds, and traditions. Students Yalie R. and Darius D. will lead the student efforts in the fall where the first meeting will feature a guest speaker from UCLA’s Middle Eastern Student Association.
Director and Assistant Director of DEI, Ralinda Watts and Chuck Neddermeyer, continue to engage with colleagues from the Los Angeles Diversity Directors’ Consortium, spearheading thoughtful dialogue and support to our community of practitioners. They were recently invited to attend the National Forum on Education and COVID-19 sponsored by the USC Race and Equity Center and the UCLA Pritzker Center for Strengthening Children and Families. The event brought together administrators, educators, parents, college presidents and more to engage in a national conversation on the impact of this pandemic on Black students and families, particularly exploring themes at the intersection of health, education, and technology. The panel and discussion were led by Dr. Shaun Harper, Founder and Director of the University of Southern California Equity Center on Race, and Dr. Tyrone Howard, Endowed Chair and Director, UCLA Pritzker Center for Strengthening Children and Families.  
Finally, DEI Coordinator Anthony Gaskins will attend the State of the Market Webinar Series, focused on how to support equity frameworks in the era of COVID-19. Lower School DEI Coordinators Sabine Abadou and Cydney Junius are spearheading signature programs for the Lower School. Sabine led an assembly on mental health and well-being to acknowledge Mental Health Awareness Month; and Cydney introducing a thoughtful book selection focused on empathy and social justice for our kindergarten and first graders. 
Although we cannot be together on campus, we are continually engaged in the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Under these unique circumstances, what remains clear is the students’ willingness to lean into discomfort, stretching their thinking and perspective around these complex issues. Our commitment to them and to the work has never been stronger! 

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