NSVF Summit 2018: Moving Beyond Diversity to True Inclusion

Leaders often shy away from public discussion of our work to deepen diversity, inclusion, and equity in our organizations for fear of saying the wrong thing, being or making others uncomfortable, taking credit for the work of the collective, conveying that we have “the answers”, and so many other reasons. At the recent NewSchools Summit, Jovian Zayne and Xiomara Padamsee organized a session where four courageous leaders did the opposite - they stepped up to share a bit about their individual and organizational journeys, imperfections and all, with the hopes that their perspectives could help to inform and fuel others’ continued progress.


Interrupting White Dominance to Make Good on the Promise of Equity

Today, on the 64th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision, I find myself reflecting deeply on the intent of this landmark decision. I believe the spirit of this decision was a promise to decouple race from access in order to eventually remove the predictability of success or failure as correlated with any identity, which is the definition of equity.

We have yet to deliver on that promise.


On Being in the Closet at St. Ignatius

I distinctly remember one gay teacher while I was a student at St. Ignatius College Preparatory School in Chicago. Or, at least we all thought he was gay. He taught Spanish and was unapologetically flamboyant. I never had the pleasure of having him as a teacher, nor did I ever have a teacher who was openly gay until graduate school — I cried when she said it in passing on the first day of class. I don’t know if the Spanish teacher ever came out to students or ever said that he was gay. Frankly, it was none of our business. Even without the “official” confirmation, the students loved him. It was said that he was one of the best Spanish teachers in the department.


Bellwether at #Dreamforce16: What We Can Learn about Gender Inclusion

As an Operations Assistant at Bellwether, I had the privilege of being one of three Bellwarians to attend Dreamforce ‘16, Salesforce.com’s annual 4-day user conference in San Francisco. At Bellwether, we use Salesforce as our primary data and client management system, and I was looking forward to learning more about what Salesforce has to offer to take our operations to the next level. This was my first time attending, and I had been looking forward to it for months. I spent hours poring over the schedule and the 500+ sessions per day, trying to strategize which ones I (and, as an extension, Bellwether) would get the most value out of. I mentally prepared to be overwhelmed by the crowd of more than 100,000 attendees descending upon this small section of San Francisco. The last thing I ever expected to think about was my gender identity and how it would play out at the conference.


Diversity: Necessary (But Insufficient)

Our country has a long history of social movements that fight inequity, injustice, and institutionalized oppression and which are led by marginalized or oppressed groups. But the educational equity “movement” is unique in that it has, from the beginning, been led largely by white, economically privileged leaders and funders, while the communities most impacted by educational injustice are largely brown, black, and poor. The outcomes of this disconnect are approaches, practices, and structures that are not deeply and authentically informed by the communities being served. They often lack sociological and cultural context and relevance.