Virtual DEI: Equity Board in 2020
Peniel Ouabo '21
For those of you who do not know, Equity Board is a branch of student government dedicated to (DEI) diversity, equity, and inclusion. We meet every Wednesday to discuss the various ways we can incorporate those three principles into life at NCS. Traditionally, Equity Board’s focuses on planning the annual diversity forum and issuing monthly newsletters, but this year we would like to expand our reach.
Before I continue, I would like to acknowledge the departure of DEI, Ms. McIntyre. Ms. McIntyre left earlier this month for personal reasons. Despite being president of the equity board, I found out this information at the same time as others. I was shocked and saddened by the news, but I respect her decision to do what was best for her. Personally, I will miss her referring to me as “darling” or calling everyone “friends” in her emails, but I look forward to collaborating with (her provisional replacement,) the Glasgow group.
At the end of summer, Equity Board outlined our goals for this school year. We want to be more visible and present in the student body. Above all, we desire to create spaces where students can have meaningful conversations and express their feelings on the chaotic world in which we live. To achieve this goal, we started collaborating with affinity-based clubs, reviving our Instagram account, and organizing online, interactive events for diversity forum.
Education via social media has proven to be our easiest goal to maintain. Our Instagram account, @ncsequityboard, posts a term of the week as well as historical figures relevant to the theme of the month. On that note, we also produce themed newsletters based on the history of each month. Camila Leiva ‘21 organized our first newsletter of the year for National Hispanic Heritage month, and I am so proud of the work she put into it. Our newsletters should inform and intrigue the student body, and hers did just that. Some months, like October, have several overlapping themes; to supplement this, we will send emails to spread awareness relevant to that month. We have enough time and energy to make sure no one feels overlooked on campus, which is what I appreciate about an online setting.
We have already decided on our theme for the year, and I aspire to host panels for student speakers, workshops relevant to the theme, and grade wide activities during co-curric. Equity Board has many plans for this school year, but much is contingent on the administration in regards to allotted community time and the new blended model. I would say what the theme is, but it’s a surprise. That is one thing that should remain the same this year.
In addition to in-school initiatives, Equity Board collaborates with programs outside of school. Board representatives attend and facilitate workshops for regional diversity conferences such as (BSDLC) Baltimore Student Diversity Leadership Conference, Diversity in the DMV, and (SDLC) Student Diversity Leadership Conference. I encourage everyone to take advantage of these opportunities and sign up for diversity conferences whenever you get the chance. You do not have to consider yourself “diverse”. Noone will look at you funny for trying to be open minded, educated, and most importantly empathetic. We also collaborate with an organization called “Speak Truth” to get NCS students to facilitate and participate in conversations with other high school students about social issues. Past discussion topics include amending the Constitution, mental health of first responders, and the dehumanization of Black women. Anyone is open to facilitate and participate, just reach out and look out for emails in regards to it.
Honestly, it has been an honor serving on the Equity Board for the past three years. I am sad to move on and hope to leave behind new traditions, but I can confidently say that Equity Board is in good hands for next year. Nicki Anyanwu ‘22 and Julia Sherman ‘22 are phenomenal leaders who will take Equity Board in a positive direction next year.
P.S: If you have an idea or issue you would like Equity Board to address, please let us know. Stay safe, and get excited for a phenomenal year!