The topics were purposefully thorny. What does it mean to be privileged? How can we discuss political differences without attacking individuals? Why does anti-Semitism persist? What does it mean to be American?
On April 1, students and faculty gathered for an evening of workshops sponsored by the school’s Diversity & Inclusion Group. With subject matter chosen by students and almost all meetings run by students, the evening of discussion proved eye-opening to participants and empowering to workshop leaders.
Students attended two, one-hour sessions, choosing among thirty-two, wide-ranging options—from educational inequity to mental health awareness, from feminism to climate change. A sampling of the workshops includes Girls Not Brides, about the extremely early marriage of girls in some developing countries; Classics and Social Justice, which explored how Latin remains relevant; I Am a Bad Feminist, a look at how literature, starting in the eighteenth century, confronted the concept of feminism; and Open for Repairs, about reparations for descendants of former slaves and whether the dismantling of apartheid in South Africa can influence that discussion.
Some other workshops were Confronting Ourselves, an exploration of privilege; Latino Representation in the Media; Religious Perspectives on Homosexuality and Gender Identity; The 46 Million Slaves Today; and What Is “Fair” in College Admissions.
“There was a wide berth of topics,” said Eliza Lord ’19, a Diversity and Inclusion prefect—and that was intentional. She explained that one goal was to show that Diversity and Inclusion initiatives span departments, well beyond the expected humanities. For example, a science teacher discussed the biological origins of human sex, gender, and sexual orientation in one workshop, while art teachers guided the creation of a mural with colored tape, intended to promote student identity and strengthen the community.
The Diversity and Inclusoin Group at Groton sponsors workshops and speakers throughout the year, which spark discussion, provoke thought, and open minds.