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October 26, 2020 | Tania Oro-Hahn
“Ears to hear and eyes to see–both are gifts from the LORD.” –Proverbs 20:12
We know that by age three children are developing self-image and beginning to notice identifying features such as skin color, hair, and more. By age three children are already engaging in conversations about race with each other, family, and teachers. Our staff see the need to give children language for the conversations they are already having in the Nest. We are centering our conversations about race within the biblical narrative. We see in God’s story that we are all created in the image of God and we are God’s delight, every shade, every color, and every language. From the Nest to the Middle School our staff is wrestling with language and ideas to help our community deepen our conversations and understand God’s delight in diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Last year our training consisted of the following themes: understanding systemic racism; white privilege, bias, and cultural competencies in the classroom. This year our training will focus on the following themes: the difference between diversity, equity, and inclusion; how to counteract implicit bias; how to find ways to bring DEI conversations into our classrooms; and how to assess our curriculum, how to identify our cultural lens. I am thankful that staff will process their thinking and learning through a diverse committed small group at staff training events.
The leadership team began a formal DEI assessment this summer and continues to examine our decision-making process, leadership development, goal setting, and policy writing through an equity lens.
No one is culture neutral. Each of one of us sees, assesses, and draws conclusions through our very textured cultural lens. We strive to make our school a place where we can see better, where we can see our cultural lens, and counteract bias within and without. This is part of our call to be one yet without losing our differences, our otherness. These differences we offer to the community as gifts.
Thank you for joining us in this journey of self-reflection and commitment to equity. Pray that we would have the eyes to see the ways we can continue to build a beautiful and “impossible” community at Mustard Seed School.
As we look to our upcoming election and its results, as we tell stories from the Bible and from the lives of Saints, we hope that you will find and make time for conversations at your home. Find time to discuss current events. Find time to discuss and share what we consider during worship. Find time to consider a viewpoint different from your own.
May we all find ways to live into one of our core commitments: We believe in creating unity as we embrace diversity. By engaging with our differences, we teach our students to genuinely know themselves, their neighbors, and the world. We work to value engaging with differences and we suspect these next weeks will challenge all of us.