George Floyd, by Jake Messing, 2020. Jake is a SWSF alumnus (class of 2000), professional artist and teacher, and SWSF parent

Summerfield’s Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

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

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.

—Ignacio Garat, Jason Gross and Rachel McGarva
The Governance Council on behalf of the Summerfield Community

Please click here to read more articles by our faculty on this subject in the June edition of the Messenger.