04 Jun DWS Commitment to Anti-Racism
Artwork created with love by our high school art teacher, Kimberly Martin, along with her two daughters (and DWS alumnae) Bella and Tallulah
We at The Denver Waldorf School continue to be deeply saddened and outraged at the tragic and violent death of George Floyd. As a school founded on principles of love and humanity, these actions of brutality strike against our very mission. We recognize that if we do not stand up against systemic racism that faces the Black community, then we too are complicit in oppression.
It is our responsibility to bear witness to what is happening in the world, to elevate the voices of marginalized people, to change the course of inequities, and to break down structural prejudice in all forms where it exists, particularly in our own school
We have much more work to do and here are some examples of steps we are taking and have taken toward greater diversity and inclusion at DWS.
We have worked to grow The Denver Waldorf School’s diverse student body during the past five years from 16% identifying as people of color to 25%. Our next goal is to grow classrooms whose diversity invites many perspectives from several backgrounds, minimizing the risk of tokenization. We do this by continuing to grow our Diversity Scholarship, broadening our outreach efforts, and working to ensure that DWS is a welcoming, safe space.
The Denver Waldorf School’s inherently multicultural curriculum has broadened and deepened to be ever more inclusive of diverse stories and perspectives. We have brought diverse community members in and together through our festivals and celebrations we are working to make our festival life even more inclusive, honoring all people. These same efforts are being taken up on a national level for the greater Waldorf education movement, in particular teacher training institutes. We strive to grow increasingly welcoming and affirming and we, as individuals involved with the school, are working to deepen our personal understanding and be better witnesses of the experiences of people from different backgrounds than our own.
As staff and teachers, we participate in trainings on cultural competence, examining privilege and dismantling oppression. We also strive to help our students recognize and counter white supremacy and oppression, developing positive identities through conversations with their teachers as well as with guests, most recently the Flobots.
Our Diversity and Inclusivity Committee helps shepherd this work throughout the school. Together we reflect, envision, and act to shape The Denver Waldorf School as a place where families, faculty, and staff of all backgrounds feel welcomed and valued. Part of our work as a committee is studying together. This year we read Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria by Beverly Daniel Tatum. This book helped us better understand racial identity development as it unfolds in Black children, children of color, and White children and our role as parents and educators.
This summer, Diversity and Inclusivity member Vernon Dewey invites all DWS community members who are interested to join him in reading and discussing White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo, a book previously read by the committee. This book is particularly helpful for White people in understanding White privilege in order to better engage in social change. You may email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Magally Luna will also be leading a Healing Justice Circle for any DWS People of Color wanting support during this time. You may email her at email@example.com.
We also recommend the following:
How to talk to children about racism and violence: resources for teachers, parents and guardians
Anti-racism Resources for White People: a compilation of resources for white people and parents to deepen our work in anti-racism
Array Now: Started by Ava DuVernay, director of Now They See Us, this is a compilation of African American independent films – an array of stories and voices.
Teaching Tolerance: Teaching about race, racism, and police violence
75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice: Curated by Medium and updated regularly.
Thank you to our community for joining us in elevating our commitment to social justice and renewal.
The Denver Waldorf School