While day-long service events can be powerful, our team is always wondering how to embed the ideas of justice into our daily teaching. How can we carry on Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy day to day, moment to moment? How do we rise to meet the challenge set forth in Deuteronomy: צדק צדק תרדוף —Justice, Justice, You Shall Pursue. Working to build a more just, anti-racist society is often as much about the small moments as it is about large, historical acts. And while heroes like Dr. King are important, history teaches us that social progress often results from the ordinary actions of individuals whose names we will never know.
Because of Gann’s commitment to both educating about and fighting injustice, we are proud to have sponsored a delegation of students and teachers to attend the Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC) at the People of Color Conference three years in a row. We have historically been one of the few Jewish day schools in the country to participate.
This past December, we sent a team of three students and two faculty to Seattle, Washington, to participate in the annual conference. Naomi '20, who attended the event, shared her experience:
When going to the Student Diversity Leadership Conference, I felt as if [I] were home. I had made friendships that I knew were going to be long-term and even for life…. I did not know what to expect going into this conference, but when entering the first general session, seeing every person of color in that room brought tears to my eyes.
Over the past three years, I have had the privilege of meeting hundreds of new students who are beyond brilliant. Attending a predominantly white school is very hard for me, but learning how to emerge back into school after being at this conference and taking my learning experiences and putting them to the test is something I won’t forget. SDLC is an eye-opening experience I wish every person of color could experience year to year.
Working towards racial justice is not something we check off on our long to-do list just once a year in the middle of January. It is continuous, intentional work that requires tremendous personal vulnerability, trust, emotional and interpersonal safety, and dialogue. Luckily, we get to work with young people who model these traits for us each day.
Dr. Dalia Hochman
Head of School