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Walnut Hill School for the Arts

DIVERSITY & INCLUSION 

AT WALNUT HILL 

Walnut Hill School for the Arts demonstrates its commitment to diversity, inclusion, and social justice in the following ways:

Student Representatives for Diversity, Inclusion & Social Justice

These representatives provide student voices for diversity, inclusion, and social justice initiatives across campus. They work on events and assembly programming, as well as fostering personal growth within the community to celebrate human differences and recognize the inherent worth and dignity of all people.

Affinity Groups for Students

Affinity groups for students were formally launched during the 2016–2017 school year. NAIS defines affinity group as “the bringing together of people who have something important in common, e.g., race, gender, profession, or special interests.”

The Walnut Hill Students of Color Group is for students with African-American/Black-American, Arab/Middle Eastern, Asian-American, Pacific Islander, South Asian, Bi-Racial/Multi-Racial, Latino/a/Chicano/a/Hispanic-Latino/a, Native American/American Indian/First People heritage. Any domestic or international student who identifies as of color.

Faculty Professional Development

SEED: Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity

The National SEED Project for Inclusive Curriculum developed at the Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College is a peer-led professional development program that creates conversational communities that drive personal, organizational, and societal change toward greater equity and diversity.  Facilitated by the Director of Diversity & Inclusion, the school offers a monthly SEED program for Faculty and Staff, and for Senior Administrators. Visit the National SEED Project https://nationalseedproject.org

The Walnut Hill Diversity Committee

DIVERSITY COMMITTEE MISSION STATEMENT

The Walnut Hill Diversity Committee works collaboratively to advocate for, promote, and support diversity and inclusion in all areas of campus life. The WHDC encourages students, staff, and faculty to grow in their own understanding of diversity, and works to ensure an equitable and inclusive experience for every member of the community. The committee actively facilitates and fosters the following:

• Multicultural curricula in academic and artistic courses that raise awareness of and celebrate difference in safe, intellectual, and thought-provoking settings;

• Community programs that encourage exploration, appreciation, and tolerance of diverse cultures and lifestyles; spark dialogues about social justice; and provide opportunities for meaningful advocacy;

• Progressive skill sets for all community members, including cooperation, listening for understanding, cultural competency, and the ability to lean into discomfort.

COMMITTEE DEFINITIONS OF DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION

Diversity is quantitative and speaks to who we are. Diversity is the entire range of human differences that includes but is not limited to race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, age, socioeconomic status, physical and cognitive abilities, religious affiliation, ethical values, national origin and political beliefs. 

Inclusion is qualitative. Inclusion is the deliberate act of welcoming diversity and it recognizes the inherent worth and dignity of all people. An inclusive school promotes and sustains a sense of belonging; it values and respects the talents, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of living of its community members so that all different kinds of people can thrive and succeed.

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Che Anderson in front of graffiti wall

Celebrating Black History Month 
2018 Special Assembly:
Che Anderson

 

Che Anderson was our featured Black History Month speaker. His talk focused on his work for the City of Worcester, Massachusetts, and how his identity and experiences informed his work to establish groundbreaking public arts initiatives.

Currently, Che works on special events initiatives and cultural equity for the city. Originally from New York City, the alumnus of the College of the Holy Cross formed a deep bond with Worcester and chose to stay there after graduation. An avid lover of street art, Che has led efforts to increase Worcester’s public art, most notably serving as founding Director of Pow! Wow! Worcester Mural Festival, a festival-style event that brings internationally acclaimed artists to the City of Worcester. Che was recently named a Central Massachusetts Power Player by the Worcester Business Journal, and was named 2016 Person of the Year by Worcester Magazine.

Che says, “Art is a reactive voice of the people; and sometimes, with enough support, the art can influence political policy and ideology leading to a cycle of influence and change.” 

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Honoring Martin Luther King Jr.
MLK 2018 Special Assembly:
Reverend Mariama White-Hammond

Reverend Mariama White-Hammond speaking at podium

Walnut Hill commemorated the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with an inspiring assembly address by Reverend Mariama White-Hammond, Minister for Ecological Justice at Bethel AME Church in Boston and a fellow with the Green Justice Coalition. She is also the former Executive Director of Project HIP-HOP, an organization that helps young artists use their craft for social change. Her message was powerful and simple: in order to effect change, we must address the ideological foundation that roots our individual worldview. Rev. White-Hammond reminded students to use their artistic practice to take risks and question themselves and those around them as a means to discovering how they can contribute to the greater good of society.

Images of Diversity and inclusion events and speakers at a walnut hill

Events & Speakers

2017-2018

Che Anderson

Lunar New Year

Reverend Mariama White-Hammond *

Theatre of the Oppressed Workshop with Akhila Khanna

Jeff Perrotti

Ricky Pena and Friends

Flag Ceremony

2016-2017

Mona Haydar and Sebastian Robin

Bill Banfield Trio

Chinese Musicians: Mr. Yazhi Guo and Tao He

Melinda Weekes-Laidlow *

2015-2016

Dr. Christina Marin

Saakumu Dance Troupe from Ghana

Chinese Musicians: Mr. Yazhi Guo and Tao He

Ricardo Pitts-Wiley

State Representative David Linsky

Marshall Davis Jones *

Theatre Espresso

* Indicates MLK Speaker

Linda Hughes, Director of diversity and Inclusion

For more information on these initiatives, please contact Director of Diversity and Inclusion Linda Hughes at lhughes@walnuthillarts.org.