Our Justice, Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity (JEDI) committee selected Why are all the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations on Race by Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum for an inaugural community discussion group formed this summer. Dr. Tatum’s book explores racial identity development and generates a common language and shared understanding to facilitate a framework for cross-racial dialogue.
Over 30 Grayson Board members, faculty and staff joined the forum to share personal reactions and reflections, backgrounds, and experiences with race and how it impacts our approach to education and working with our students.
Dr. Liz Braun and Lindsay Andreas, both founding members of our JEDI Committee, facilitated these new discussion group sessions and stressed the importance of what Dr. Tatum calls ‘breaking the silence’ in our community in order to have honest and open conversations about race. Large group presentations and sharing sessions in July and August were extended with Zoom breakout rooms that allowed for more intimate conversations in small groups. Topics ranged from understanding social identities and the cycle of socialization to how we build our ‘accountability muscles.’ Ms. Andreas shares, “it’s important to recognize that everyone has their own story, and this understanding helps us to create critically caring classrooms that will fortify our community in a sustaining way.”
Racism is a volatile issue, and I don’t want to say the wrong thing. In almost forty years of teaching and leading workshops about racism, I have made many mistakes. I have found that a sincere apology and a genuine desire to learn from one’s mistakes are usually rewarded with forgiveness. If we wait for perfection, we will never break the silence. The cycle of racism will continue uninterrupted. — Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum
Throughout our conversations on race, it was recognized that each of us has ‘sphere of influence” where we can make a difference improving JEDI at our school, in our families, in our community, and in our world. Each member of the group committed to developing an action plan on steps they will take in their personal and professional lives going forward. Dr. Braun shares, “as parents, educators and leaders in our community, we first must practice what we want to role model for our students.” Many participants have commented on how invaluable it is to connect with their colleagues in this way. We look forward to building on this culture of respect and open conversation in the fall when our topic for discussion will be on intersectionality.
and we believe that justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion are essential aspects of providing an optimal education for gifted students. Please read more about our JEDI Committee and school initiatives that support this philosophy.