In accordance with the school’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives, Prefect Council, Student Leaders for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity (SLIDE) and Peer Support underwent bias training with Liza Talusan on Sep. 25.
Talusan is an educator and facilitator in conversations about anti-racism, diversity and bias, and she works directly with schools, leadership teams and other organizations to create more inclusive environments. During a two-hour session, each group discussed the presence and implementation of DEI work within the school. Students journaled along with Talusan’s presentation, answering questions and reflecting on their personal and school-wide goals.
Senior Prefect and SLIDE representative Chelsea Cho ’21 said she valued her time with Talusan and supports the enrichment of student representatives.
“Having a workshop with Dr. Talusan was an incredibly important first step for our school as an institution,” Cho said. “The student leaders on campus have a critical responsibility, especially this year, to make equity a driving force for every decision we make for the students.”
Talusan shared her different tools for effectively participating in difficult, sometimes uncomfortable discussions with the student leaders. Talusan emphasized the importance of Courageous Conversations, which focus on staying engaged, speaking one’s truth, experiencing discomfort and accepting non-closure.
More students share their thoughts
Cho said she especially appreciates the tools Talusan taught in regards to applying them with SLIDE.
“SLIDE has such a vital role to our school because we are a catalyst for change, and I learned from Dr. Talisan that to do that, everyone needs to be honest and be open to new ideas and new perspectives,” Cho said.
Peer Support Coordinator Connor Colao ’21 said Talusan’s time with Peer Support enhanced the group’s skill in fostering a welcoming environment.
“I thought it was a really important experience because not often do we have a chance to reflect on our identities and think about how they might fall short in capturing other people’s perspectives,” Colao said. “I think over the summer Peer Support had to take a hard look at itself about whether or not we were doing everything we can to create the most inclusive community possible and I think that this was a really strong first step in doing that.”