by James Nau, Upper School history teacher/faculty equity programs coordinator
The naming of Lakeside’s ongoing equity and inclusion initiative, “Our Work Together: Inclusion, Multiculturalism, Respect,” rightly frames our shared belief that all of us have a part to play in the work of making Lakeside not only more just and equitable, but also truly anti-racist. As we engage in this collective enterprise, it is important that we share more than simply good intentions. We must also operate from a set of shared priorities, goals, practices, and understandings. In furtherance of this effort, the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) team has been working with the communications office to develop a common set of shared terms and definitions.
For our school truly to be anti-racist, we must first be able to define what we mean by “anti-racist.” What is more, we need to hold that definition in common with our entire community so that we can work in concert with one another to further this important effort. The task of defining key terms is complicated by the fact that the language around expressions of identity, interpersonal terms of reference, and social constructs change over time. As a result, our understanding of this language is and ought to be open to reconsideration as our learning continues, and we will revisit them regularly.
With these considerations, we have curated a list of terms and definitions necessary for the work that we must do. Some of these are definitions we had previously developed as a school community, while others are new additions or have been recently updated, including the terms anti-racist, racial equity, racial justice, social justice, gender, gender identity, and gender expression. For each of these definitions we looked to a wide variety of sources to find those best suited to life at Lakeside. Some of our sources are school-specific, like the National Association of Independent Schools, while others come from organizations we have done professional development with, like Blink Consulting. Still others were drawn from national and internationally recognized authorities like the World Health Organization and the Human Rights Campaign.
We invite you to explore the full list of definitions that Lakeside will be working from and using to shape our communication, which you can find on the DEI page. And we invite you to join the conversation at home and in our community. How do these definitions fit into your life? How can they help us better work together and understand one another? Parents and guardians can explore questions like these in Lakeside’s parents and guardians affinity groups, and through resources on the Parents and Guardians Associations DEI page.