Speaker Day brings together different perspectives on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Given the special circumstances of the past two school years, the Upper School Council and Community Action and Service Club presented Speaker Day a bit differently. This year’s Speaker Day schedule was adapted to include both service and speakers: the morning dedicated to guest speakers and an afternoon dedicated to documentaries emulating and inspiring community action. The theme of Speaker Day emphasized the importance of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. With the events of the past year, first with the murder of George Floyd, the Capitol insurrection, then most recently with the shooting of Daunte Wright, USC and CAS only felt it right to dedicate Speaker Day to issues so closely surrounding the St. Paul Academy and Summit School’s community.
USC co-president Rashmi Raveendran said, “USC really came to a unanimous decision to decide on DEI as the theme for Speaker Day because it’s a fairly broad topic that has a lot of nuances the SPA community should really engage with. We wanted to take a very common term that is being used in the current political climate and really show students what it means to be an active agent in creating Diverse, Equitable and Inclusive spaces for everyone. The biggest goal was just to spark discussion and introduce new ideas to the SPA community. We wanted to push the boundaries of what we currently understand of DEI and allow a space for BIPOC to share their lessons and stories with people who are eager to learn from them. We don’t think this is the all be all of ending inequities in the workforce and,or, at SPA, but we really hope that it’s a start in the right direction.”
To start the day, USC co-Presidents Nikolas Liepins and Raveendran welcomed the community then turned it over to IC co-President Gabriella Thompson to introduce Keynote Speaker Sharon Day, who spoke about native experiences with institutional racism. After a brief Q&A, faculty and students attended two breakout sessions, then met in advisories to discuss their takeaways.
Junior Lily Ellis said, “I loved listening to all the insightful things the speakers discussed in their sessions. There were a lot of personal anecdotes as well as broader themes that were all really mind-opening to me.”
Later in the afternoon, Community Action and Service offered access to six movies to watch asynchronous and then complete a reflection: H.O.P.E. Was Here, Crip Camp, I Am Not Your Negro, How to Survive a Plague, The 13th and Teach Us All.