DEI discussions stimulate campus discourse on racial discrimination


After the Black Lives Matter movement intensified in the United States and many institutions were called upon to better their contributions to diversity, equity and inclusion, Hill has implemented many new programs and tried to progress: members and students participated in a sit-out bringing attention to Breonna Taylor’s murder and police brutality, many offices on campus sent out emails of support, and student-run accounts have used social media to support racial equality. Perhaps the most significant change in formal programming has been the addition of DEI discussions on every other Tuesday in which advisories were encouraged to discuss the summer reading, Racial Profiling, as well as more general conversations around diversity and equality. 

The DEI discussions present an opportunity for conversations about important social issues. While talking about the summer reading, Racial Profiling, students are also able to contemplate critical race issues or reflect on Wes Moore’s visit to campus. The talks eventually diverged, leading to other topics that coincide with ongoing issues of today: racial discrimination and the 2020 presidential election, the BLM movement, and structural prejudice. Moreover, by allowing students to share personal experiences of discrimination, DEI conversations effectively created awareness and empathy for wider issues of inequality. 

“This avenue allows for greater understanding, empathy, awareness, and even action steps that young people are taking across communities to institute meaningful change. I am pleased with these efforts,” said Associate Headmaster Sylvia Rodriguez Vargas, who is actively engaging in DEI discussions within her own advisory. 

Though The Hill School just started the discussions focused on race and gender equality fairly recently, students believe there can be room for improvement. 

 “It would have been better if we (students) were able to watch clips of movies related to racial discrimination and debate about it. Like the movie, “The Hate You Give”, watching those movie clips will make the DEI discussions more intriguing and easier to understand,” said Amanda Hudak ’24, a member of Rodriguez Vargas’ advisory.

“For our DEI discussions, it would have been way better if we did some group activities beforehand to get to know each other. We could have had ice breakers! That would have helped us participate in the conversations,” said Timmy Woodward ‘24 of the same advisory. 

The Hill School is currently striving for racial equality and acceptance of difference and change. The efforts of the DEI Discussions may have some minor issues that need improvement. 

“I am pleased with these efforts of the DEI discussions and I believe that they reflect our school’s mission,” said Rodriguez Vargas.