I tend to reflect on School events, activities, and larger initiatives each week. This is rarely done formally, and most often comes as a result of time spent unfocused. Late on Friday evening I was reading the paper and came across a powerful article in The Globe and Mail by Denise Balkissoon entitled “Why Looking Away Isn’t Always the Right Answer.” This provocative article suggests that, somewhere between distasteful voyeurism and blatant avoidance, there is middle ground, a point from which one can accurately see what might be happening. Balkissoon ends her article by saying, “It’s tempting to resist troubling information because knowing without action feels impotent, but the choice not to see is still a choice. Somewhere between staring and avoidance, everything comes into focus.”
As I read this, I thought of a number of things happening at SCS, and, in particular the work we have been doing with our Diversity Task Force. Over the last two years, the School has been working with a facilitator to educate our staff in the important area of equity and inclusion. This year, we have created a task force comprised of staff, faculty and students to work with a facilitator to develop a diversity strategy for St. Clement’s. As we challenge ourselves to ensure we are delivering an increasingly diverse curriculum, being open to diverse perspectives, and fostering an increasingly diverse community, we must also challenge ourselves to ‘see’ actions, behaviours and decisions that may unintentionally be excluding others.
The notion of diversity is complex with each of us bringing our own backgrounds, lenses and context to what we do.
Though there will be many moments of discomfort, challenging conversations, and difficult times as we work to understand and implement processes and structures to foster an increasingly inclusive environment at St. Clement’s, I am hopeful that each of us chooses to ‘see’ and engage in these challenges together.