As part of the school’s commitment to foster a more welcoming environment, Visual Arts Teacher Reb Limerick and Benefits Administrator Yutopia Essex will serve as the new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) coordinators this year.
Limerick began their full-time position as a member of the Visual Arts Department in Fall 2019, teaching Video Art I and III, co-directing the Westflix Film Festival and co-coordinating the HWGo! Storytelling Adventures program. They will continue these roles, while also replacing Science Teacher Nate Cardin as the Upper School DEI Coordinator.
“As a queer environmentalist with a passion for facilitating conversations around intersectional justice, I saw the DEI position as an opportunity to more deeply invest in this meaningful work in an active way,” Limerick said. “With the amazing Dr. Nate Cardin stepping down from the role, fellow L.G.B.T.Q.+ faculty reached out to encourage me to apply, step up and be a resource and advocate for all L.G.B.T.Q.I.A.+ members of the HW community.”
Limerick has specific changes they want to implement as DEI Coordinator
Limerick said they hope to implement the many ideas they have for the school’s DEI work.
“Grandly, I hope to catalyze an expansion of our collective imagination of just how diverse, equitable and inclusive our school can be,” Limerick said. “Practically, I think this can be done through education around and [the] practice of inclusive language, centering student voices from the margins and infusing the arts, eco-consciousness, joy, rigor and interdisciplinary collaboration into the hard work.”
Limerick said they are excited to take on new responsibilities.
“I am thrilled and humbled to join the DEI team in the work of uplifting visionary student leaders in [the Upper School Student Leaders for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity] and equipping our teachers with DEI tools to bring into their classrooms daily, with a particular focus on dismantling harmful systems and toxic norms,” Limerick said.
Like Limerick, Essex will pursue specific goals in her role as DEI Coordinator.
Essex will also serve as a DEI Coordinator, in addition to her responsibilities working in employee benefits. Besides these roles, Essex said she loves connecting with students, participating in the theater department and helping lead BLACC.
“I love HW, and I want to be a part of making it an even better place for all of our students and community members, especially our students and community members from marginalized and underrepresented groups,” Essex said.
Essex said she hopes to achieve her various goals with the DEI team, including working on the school’s mission to become an anti-racist institution.
“I want to look within and be in a state of constant change within myself,” Essex said. “We all have biases, thoughts and ideas in need of paradigm shifting. I want each member of our community to feel entitled to all of the access, resources and privileges HW provides – for each member to feel they truly belong.”
Essex said she aims to implement meaningful change within the community.
“I want to create more mirrors for our students of color and L.G.B.T.Q.+ students,” Essex said. “Seeing yourself reflected in your environment is essential to success. I want to create more safe, brave spaces for members of our community to engage in honest dialogue: spaces to vent, breathe, decompress, share and be.”