Love is higher than opinion. If people love one another, the most varied opinions can be reconciled…This is one of the most important tasks for humankind today and in the future: that human beings should learn to live together and understand one another. If this human fellowship is not achieved, all talk of inner development is empty. -Rudolf Steiner
Summerfield’s Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Drawing of George Floyd, by Jake Messing, 2020. Jake is a SWSF alumnus (class of 2000), professional artist and teacher, and SWSF parent
We, the Summerfield community past, present and future do emphatically reject the racism of our world and institutions that has so impacted our past and present and, though differently, each of us. Our history and our current events strengthen our resolve as a school to educate young people to honor and respect the humanity of all people regardless of difference and to become able to recognize our differences can unite us and make us stronger, and that every human should have equal rights and freedoms. We strive for our education to develop the capacities in young people to imagine, transform and create the communities and societies where these ideals can become real. Our hearts join in mourning with all those who have suffered and died at the hands of injustice, prejudice and racism here in our county, our country and throughout the world.
—Jason Gross and Adriana Livingston, Governance Council Members, on behalf of the Summerfield Community
The DEI Committee
The DEI committee at Summerfield is a group of faculty and staff that has been working at our school during the past few years to explore issues related to sexism, racism and gender at Summerfield.
DEI Book Group
In October we invited the Summerfield Community of parents, teachers and staff to explore these issues together. We are using the book “Stamped – Racism, Antiracism and You” by Jason Reynolds & Ibram X. Kendi as the foundation for our work.
At our first meeting, we explored our first experiences in life with race and ethnicity and began to explore the first section of the book. You are welcome to join the remaining sessions.
The book is available in most bookstores, online, libraries, and a link to a free digital copy is here: Stamped: Free/digital version
Meetings will be held in Sophia Hall, 3:30 – 4:30pm on the first Monday in November and December:
- November 7 Section 2: Years 1743 – 1826
- December 5 Section 3: 1826 – 1879
Affinity Groups (Students, faculty and staff)
The purpose of affinity groups is to provide a place to connect with others who are exploring specific issues or experiences, to grow in our understanding of ourselves, get support from others who may have similar experiences, and often advocate to build awareness in the school community.
LGBQTIAA++ Safe Space
The LGBQTIAA++ Safe Space is a group for 7th-12th graders that meets weekly, facilitated by a faculty member, providing a welcoming and accepting social space for students and their allies to support and learn from each other, and explore relevant topics and concerns.
Students who are interested in creating and leading an affinity group can contact the DEI Committee to learn more about affinity group leadership, and facilitation preparation and training.
Support the Asian Community!
Hate crimes targeting Asian Americans have increased 150% in the past year! Last week, these crimes turned violent. A 36-year old Asian man was stabbed while walking down the street in New York City, and a 61-year old Filipino man was slashed across the face while riding a subway. Former NBA star Jeremy Lin was called “Coronavirus” while playing for the Golden State Warriors G League team. On Facebook, Lin wrote, “We are tired of being told to keep our heads down and not make trouble.”
Summerfield’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) group is working to raise the consciousness of our community against racism, sexism and hate. We invite you to join us in condemning racial scapegoating and violence against Asian people and offer our support.
For the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee
AWSNA Member Commitment* to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion**
Waldorf schools and institutes embrace respect for human rights and for the diversity of humankind, and we believe that valuing and supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion comprise a journey of both moral and educational importance. Through our commitment to social justice, we recognize the value of addressing the historical context and the endemic nature of racism and inequality. This commitment is supported by an anthroposophical understanding of the spiritual nature of all humans and the importance of the conscious development of human relationships, as described in principles 1 and 5 of both the AWSNA Principles for Waldorf Schools and the AWSNA Principles for Waldorf Institutes. These principles state, respectively: “The image of the human being as a spiritual being informs every aspect of the school,” and “The conscious development of human relationships fosters individual and community health.”
As cultural institutions rooted in our communities, we strive to strengthen diversity, equity, and inclusion through healthy policies and practices. This commitment may look different depending on the community, location, and age of the school or institute, and may include elements such as: DEI committees and position statements; partnerships with organizations with expertise on diversity and equity; tuition models that support socio-economic diversity; admissions and employment practices that recognize and honor racial and gender diversity; curricular innovations; diverse perspectives in curriculum; activities to build bridges with broader communities; and specific education programs that suit the needs of the location, among other possibilities.
* – A Member Commitment or Position Statement is an internal document establishing agreement between Association members on a particular area of focus. Members are expected to share their efforts towards this agreement in their self-studies. Peer input on these efforts comes in the form of recommendations rather than priorities, as it is not a criterion for membership.
** – Diversity is the range of human differences that can be engaged in the service of learning including, but not limited to: race, ethnicity, age, socio-economic status, culture, place, class, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, country of origin, cultural, political, religious, military, or other affiliations (adapted from Shining Mountain Waldorf School).
Equity is fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all people while prioritizing the identification and elimination of barriers that have prevented the full participation and equal treatment of people in marginalized groups (common definition found on many websites).
Inclusion is the act of co-creating environments with an equitable balance of power in which individuals and groups are represented and participatory in an authentic way (common definition found on many websites).
DEI (Diversity-Equity-Inclusion) is a US-centric and ever-evolving term. In the US, sometimes just the terms “equity” and “inclusion” are used, or the term “social justice” is used. In Canada, much of the language in relation to this topic for First Nations communities developed from the Truth and Reconciliation Call to Action. In the spirit of committing to take action now, the members of our Association have adopted the language “DEI” knowing that unique histories within a nation may call for specific language and activities for appropriate relevance.
Approved by the Continental Delegates on June 24, 2019