New upper school student group encourages valuable discourse on identity and diversity

+Students+and+teachers+explored+and+shared+their+identity+by+writing+a+six-word%0Asentence+that+felt+meaningful+to+their+backgrounds.+%5BSABRINA+CHANG%2FTHE+BLUE+%26+GOLD%5D%0A

Students and teachers explored and shared their identity by writing a six-word sentence that felt meaningful to their backgrounds. [SABRINA CHANG/THE BLUE & GOLD]

Sabrina C. ('21)

The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion group (DEI) is an upper school-specific student group formed by Mr. Ryan Haynes, with students of all upper school grade levels invited to join. The group is focused on helping students voice their opinions in a safe environment and create effective discourse about social issues in the TAS community and beyond. 

The group had their first few meetings recently, hosted by Mr. Haynes and Dr. Soublet. “I was impressed that there was a mix of ethnicities, genders and grades [within the students who attended the meeting],” Dr. Soublet said. “I was also impressed with the willingness of everyone to share their reasons for attending and how they felt about the issues being discussed.” 

In the most recent meeting, students and faculty were invited to take part in an exercise called “The Race Card Project,” originally founded by journalist Michele Norris with National Public Radio. Each person wrote a six-word sentence about their identity and experience with race.

“It was really powerful to hear people share the meaning behind the sentence they wrote and the specific words they chose,” Sofia L. (‘21), one of the attendees, said.

The teacher sponsors hope that the group continues to expand, giving more students the opportunity to express their thoughts and opinions through discussions and activities and feel included. “I hope we can turn it into a club in the future and get more involvement,” Mr. Haynes said. “But regardless, we really want the discussion topics to come from the students.” 

The TAS community is making great strides to work towards becoming a more inclusive environment for everyone, and student involvement is extremely impactful, as they play a big role in that ultimate goal. 

“I want students to know that they have a voice,” Dr. Soublet said. “History teaches us that students are some of the greatest agents of change.”