When diversity directors at prominent private schools in Baltimore were asked, “What does a normal day look like for you?” they responded similarly – each day as a Diversity Director holds innumerable events and experiences. Their days are as diverse as the events they hold and the initiatives they establish in their communities.
Private schools in Baltimore employ diversity directors to safeguard diversity in their communities. This diversity is not exclusive to race; it encompasses all social identifiers such as – religion, ethnicity, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, ability, and gender.
The AFRO spoke with diversity directors at Gilman, Garrison Forest, and Friends School. These directors are focused on incorporating diversity before, during, and after school.
Priyanka Rupani, director of Diversity, Equity, and Social Justice, has only worked at Friends School of Baltimore for one year, yet she has already involved herself in all aspects of the community. Rupani is a “cross-divisional diversity director – I work with everyone in the community from pre-primary to upper school, and from parents to the Board.” Rupani is not the only diversity director involved in the community. Johnnie Foreman, director of diversity at Gilman, was quick to inform me of the many ways he is involved in the Gilman community as a committee chair, teacher, advisor, and coach.
Jessy Molina, who joined the Garrison Forest community in 2015, wishes to “ensure that multicultural viewpoints and perspectives are included in meaningful ways in PreK- 12 curriculum.” The AFRO also spoke with Penny Evins, head of School at St. Paul’s School for Girls, who believes diversity curriculums should “use history” and “remain relevant to the world now.” Similarly, Foreman said, “I want to ensure that the school mirrors society’s diversity.”
Diversity directors are in charge of keeping diversity of high importance at schools and creating a space where “everyone feels obligated to create a sense of community,” said Evins.
“When we learn how to effectively share our opinions and insights, and truly listen to and understand those of others, we can begin to work together to make a positive impact in our communities,” said Molina.
As far as I can tell, the fight for diversity in private schools is not a fight between students and the school or even parents and the school. The fight for diversity in private schools is a joint front where students, teachers, and parents all stand at the front lines with diversity directors.
“Parents are open and willing to learn and grow along with their children,” said Rupani, which encourages a sense of mindfulness in the community. They are the foundation for creating an open and diverse community.
Evins said, “Our work is never done. It’s an ongoing journey.”