SLIDE organizes town halls for student input on DEI

Kriste An and Chloe Park

Student Leaders for Inclusion, Equity and Diversity (SLIDE) organized town halls for students to reflect on the school’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) work Feb. 28 through March 4.

Empower, the school’s intersectional feminism and gender equality club, met in Ahmanson Lecture Hall on Feb. 28. The Black Leadership Awareness and Culture Club (BLACC) and the Latinx and Hispanic Students’ Association (LAHSO) met in the drama lab that same day. Asian Students in Action (ASiA) met in a classroom in Chalmers Hall on March 3, and the Gender and Sexuality Awareness (GSA) club, along with the South Asian Student Alliance (SASA), met in a classroom in the Kutler Center on March 4.

ASiA leader Julia Im ’23 said the discussions helped her identify issues concerning discrimination. Im said she looks forward to relaying students’ concerns to the administration and implementing a way for students to report discrimination anonymously.

“The town halls provided students [with a space] to express their concerns in relation to the school’s anti-racism policies as well as share personal anecdotes of experiences they had as students of color,” Im said. “These discussions were helpful as they helped us identify common issues within the student body, many of which we [hope to] communicate to the administration. One thing that we discussed in particular was finding a way to report discrimination to the school and allow the administration to find and address repeated offenses within the school.”

SASA leader Liana Wadhwani ’22 said she appreciated students’ willingness to share their experiences with the group and work to improve the experiences of marginalized students throughout the community.

“I hope these town hall discussions will [shine light upon] perspectives that are not always heard,” Wadhwani said. “It is important to me, as a member of SLIDE and a leader of SASA, that students are able to celebrate their cultural identities, and I wish that these town halls will be a step in that direction. I was glad to find that students were willing to speak about their experiences. This helped create a safe and relaxing environment for students to speak up and discuss their experiences.”

SLIDE will meet with the upper school administration to discuss the ideas that were brought up at the town halls March 14. Visual Arts Teacher and DEI Coordinator Reb Limerick said they look forward to working with SLIDE to address students’ concerns.

“I’m proud of these students for organizing spaces for fellow students of marginalized identities to share their stories and ideas,” Limerick said. “I think it will be very powerful for administrators to hear the biggest takeaways from the town halls so that [we can] address students’ most urgent concerns and visions. Mainly, I think it’s a special and important opportunity for SLIDE and [the upper school administration] to engage in an honest conversation, listen to one another and work together.”