School cohorts engage in a year-long exploration of issues of diversity, equity and inclusion to design an action project that promotes and affirms the value, dignity, and humanity of everyone in their school community. This year, students will share their experiences and learning at the Hawaii Student Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Conference (online) in February 2021.
The Fall of 2020 was a challenge for all schools. Between a summer of racial and social protests; assessing the best in-person or distance learning options for the opening of the school year; and the 2020 Election, schools were confronted with a combination of obstacles that were unseen at this magnitude. But as Winston Churchill is credited for saying, “Never waste a good crisis”.
The Shanti Alliance was launched to offering programming around DEI understanding, facilitation, and project development to improve each school cohort’s community. The Fall of 2020 brought 90 students and 30 educators together for individual school gatherings, conversations about the Election, and large group practitioner training. Students and educators have tackled difficult topics to engage and cultivate their skills to be better DEI facilitators in their schools.
Using these new abilities, students and educators will also help to organize and run this year’s Hawai’i DEI Conference. We will work in partnership with Dr. Rodney Glasgow from the Glasgow Group and Monique Vogelsang of Pollyanna Inc. The groups will then spend the rest of Spring developing and working on a school action project idea. They will share these ideas before the end of the school year and then work on implementation during the 2021-2022 school year as we welcome a new group of students and educators to serve as their school’s cohorts.
Thank you to the Glasgow Group and Pollyanna for sharing their expertise with our cohorts of students and educators this year. Both organizations are available to help your institution understand, evaluate, and practice improved skills around diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice.
As you prepared for an extraordinary school year in 2020, we welcomed members of various school communities to join the Stevens World Peace Foundationʻs Shanti Alliance for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Program.
The disparity between different groups and what they can and cannot access has become starker during this pandemic. In the wake of the great unrest and generative energy that have been ignited as a result of the continued murder of black and brown bodies, we feel that it is imperative to empower our schools to be able to equip our students to make sense of the historical forces shaping our world and to grapple with how we can foster a more equitable and inclusive Hawaiʻi and United States.
Hawaiʻi is diverse but it is not always the most inclusive place. We tout Hawaiʻi as a melting pot and celebrate our racial/ethnic/cultural differences, but our community also has its share of issues that cause controversy and division along racial/ethnic, socioeconomic, sexist, sexual orientation, gender identity, and ableist lines. Hawaii is well-represented by having these different identities but the opportunities to come together to learn about our uniqueness and share the gifts each possesses, rather than be afraid or bully based on differences, is lacking. And other locations around the country, no matter what they look like, are exploring many of these same questions and opportunities.
In order to help schools with support and resources to identify and discuss these issues, we partnered with different schools for the Shanti Fellows Program. This program is open to school cohorts that commit to a year of learning and action, thanks to the generous sponsorship of the Stevens World Peace Foundation.
Sign ups for the 2021-2022 school year will take place in May 2021 (Join US 2021-2022) for schools interested in participating in next year’s program. Forms for 2021-2022 will be updated and posted during the summer.