By Nolan Musslewhite '20
This year, Diversity Forum explored the theme of “Am I My Brother’s Keeper,” which, in one of the organizer’s words, “pertain[ed] to the variety of ways that we can serve our ‘brothers’ across the community.” Service was the day’s central activity, as groups went out to a variety of DMV organizations, including A Wider Circle, the Spanish Education Development Center, DC Central Kitchen, Levelling the Playing Field, and the Rock Creek Conservancy. Seniors remained around the Close.
All in all, the day appears to have been a success; attendance seemed good, and many students seemed to appreciate the hands-on and engaging experience as compared to last year’s Diversity Day. Additionally, many students especially enjoyed hearing Jared Makheja (‘19) speak about his own experience with service through his organization, The Elevator Project. Furthermore, the break time in between events and the relaxed lunch were much appreciated.
Though this year’s Diversity Forum marks significant progress, the general consensus seems to be that room for improvement remains. For one, the overall theme; while community outreach is certainly an admirable pursuit, many students were confused at how the day addressed diversity in our school life, seeing this year’s project as more of a “Service Day” than a “Diversity Forum.” Furthermore, at least for my service group, which went to the Rock Creek Conservancy, the “diversity” component of the day was further masked by the nature of the service, which constituted going into some nearby forested area and picking up trash. Again, while meaningful in itself (I personally think environmental service is especially crucial in our society), it was difficult for many to see how activities fit into a theme of “diversity.”
It’s possible that some of these experiences were unique to my group, which was distinct in that our destination had to be rearranged at the last minute following a late cancellation.
Overall, however, most students (myself included) seem to view this year’s Diversity Forum as a step in the right direction, and hope that improvements and refinements in future years will make the day even more meaningful and work to further explore diversity in our community.