In the last week, Hillbrook faculty, staff, and community members participated in peaceful demonstrations across the Bay Area. Close to 100 employees, families and alumni were part of the Los Gatos protest alone. As the first-year Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Hillbrook, I am proud of the way we have leaned into this moment. As a school and a community, we have made it clear - we believe that black lives matter and that all of us need to commit to anti-racist education and action.
Over the course of this year, we have created the space and time for these critical conversations, and in the last few weeks, we took action to meet this cultural moment of change in our country and communities. End-of-year faculty and staff meetings were rearranged by members of our senior leadership team to allow for employees to participate in these peaceful protests during the workday. We know, as a school, that it’s not enough just to talk about DEI, but when given the opportunity, we need to stand up and take action. The honesty of conversation that happened in affinity groups later that day, including that of People of Color at Hillbrook (PoCaH), painted a clear picture of the movement we have made as a school in the past few years and further paved the long path forward as we continue these efforts.
When I arrived at Hillbrook last July, I entered a community that had committed itself to strengthening its work in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). My arrival represented the continuation of a vision set in motion years earlier with Vision 2015 and Vision 2020, ambitious strategic plans that charted a course for where we are today. With my arrival, the school had recognized the need to prioritize a full-time Director of DEI to shepherd this work forward.
This year we have made significant progress, including the creation of six new affinity and allyship spaces, the addition of regular DEI Professional Development for all employees, and increasing clarity around the definition and significance of DEI work at Hillbrook. This summer, building upon that work, a team of employees will be gathering as part of a summer fellowship to clarify our approach to the DEI curriculum across JK-8.
Besides specific action, it’s also about the intangibles of making DEI a crucial part of the everyday culture by responding to injustices as a unified front. In recent weeks, Hillbrook has responded to police brutality by holding various affinity and anti-racist discussions as a community, making public statements, and actively participating in peaceful protests in our community. We will continue to push our evolution in the DEI journey and “do our best” in this space alongside those who suffer injustice. We understand there is always work to do.
I have highlighted a few pinpointed resources below as we ride into summer. Let us not forget and let us continue to educate ourselves and look to action:
Study and self reflect
Speak up! Be an equity leader in your spheres of influence
Prepare for courageous conversations
Learn with these resourcesRestorative Justice Practices