Diversity Workshops Allow Students to Examine "Allyship"
Diversity Workshops Allow Students to Examine "Allyship"
Nam Nguyen ’18

St. Andrew's students attended a series of workshops on Saturday, April 7, as part of Diversity Weekend at St. Andrew's. These workshops were based around the theme of "Allyship," and were led by different students and members of our community. The workshops explored a wide range of topics both internal and external to our school. Examples include the LGBTQ affinity group student panel, Noor El-Baradie '19 and Miles Abney '20's exploration of how being white fits into diversity conversations, Tim Lan '18 and Leo Qiao '18's unpacking of the misconceptions about Chinese culture through the documentary "A Bite of China," and Baylen Manocha '18's examination of cultural appropriation in everyday language (the full list can be found here). The following are student reflections on the weekend:

"I led a workshop on Body Positivity. I hadn't expected how emotional and open the girls who attended would be. Many shared personal experiences of being shamed for their bodies by friends and family. Body shaming is an issue ingrained in our society which affects all people, yet we never talk about it at SAS. The emotion in the room came from us feeling that we could say what we had never said before to other females. St. Andrew's should be grateful for the strong young women who call this school home." —Dianna Georges '18

"For diversity weekend, I led a workshop in which we watched part of an episode of the Humans of New York video project titled 'Home.' Through this lens, we discussed our own perceptions of home, and how going to boarding school affected this idea. Through our conversation, I was able to learn a lot about the different backstories of students I don't always interact with at St. Andrews, and it helped me understand the immense diversity that exists beyond the surface-level at our school." —Hanna Soulati '18

"Allyship at St. Andrew's is about standing up for others when they shouldn't have to stand up for themselves, and endorsing a community free of prejudice but full of curiosity. But just as significantly, allyship is about recognizing the undeserved privileges that one's identity allows them, and being thoughtful about the way these inflict others. During our Diversity Weekend, I was reminded of the first step in making progress: to listen." —Ann Yancey Bassett '19

"During Diversity Weekend, Camille Strand and I led a workshop on mental health. The idea was to better help the people of SAS understand mental health from a whole new light in which the attendees of our session could see how different people from different backgrounds deal (or not deal) with mental health problems. The discussion we had was astounding: as a facilitator I was able to teach and be taught simultaneously. While teaching people the statistics behind different minorities and suicide/depression rates, I also learned how being white and privileged does not exclude you from mental health problems. This session is a noteworthy part of my SAS life and I can't wait for the opportunity to arise again!" —Messiah Desisso '20