Walnut Hill School for the Arts explicitly affirms our identity as an anti-racist educational institution. We condemn racism, discrimination, and bigotry in all forms. As Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Through education in academics and the arts, our goal is to counteract racism, promote the dismantling of systems of oppression, and empower our students towards these goals. We recognize that racism is systemic and self-perpetuating. Therefore the work of consistently identifying, describing, and dismantling it requires a sustained systemic approach to examining organizational structures, policy, practice, attitudes, and outcomes. All members of the Walnut Hill community—students, staff, faculty, administration, trustees, alumni, and families—will continue to build the tools and skills needed to actively engage in conversations about privilege, racism, and bigotry in the hopes of empowering community members to enact change that will cultivate equitable outcomes for all.
Walnut Hill is actively engaged in this work through initiatives that drive change such as faculty, staff, alumni, and student Affinity Groups; assemblies; ongoing community conversations; events; professional development, including mandated SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity Project on Inclusive Curriculum); and individual curricular work and engagement with students.
While we have made strides to eliminate racism, we commit to:
- Identifying and deconstructing areas in our school culture, curriculum, programming, and communications that have contributed to systemic racism within our organization.
- Improving and expanding support structures, as well as creating new initiatives and programs that empower historically oppressed and marginalized peoples.
- Building awareness, education, and self-interrogation in an environment of grace and humility as a critical step in dismantling systemic inequities.
- Examining and developing equity at a systemic level including school operations; policies; programs; employment practices; and admission, financial aid, and tuition structures.
- Diversifying the racial and socioeconomic composition of the Board of Trustees and all School leadership. The Board of Trustees additionally commits to ongoing training in justice, equity, diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism work.
- Developing a specific plan to provide expanded equitable access to a high quality arts education.
- Supporting community members so that everyone can participate fully in all aspects of Walnut Hill.
- Creating a safe space for students to process and respond to experiences of racism and inequity in our programs and the greater community.
- Developing opportunities for alumni to engage in anti-racism conversations and work.
- Establishing comprehensive anti-racism strategies and procedures, including faculty and staff training, to help prevent and respond to issues of racism and discrimination in the community.
- Working with our current and future partner organizations to create a cohesive educational experience rooted in equity and justice.
- Creating a racial equity communications strategy that includes community-wide messages to respond to racial and social inequities.
- Requiring all Walnut Hill employees to set annual equity-focused professional goals and review them yearly with their supervisors and school administration.
These commitments will directly impact the Walnut Hill community experience, institutional culture, curriculum, and programs. In order to hold ourselves accountable, we will undergo periodic formal evaluations and climate assessments by an external professional organization.
While we have much work ahead of us in the areas of anti-racism and promotion of equity, diversity, inclusion, and social justice, Walnut Hill understands and embraces our responsibility as a privileged community in dismantling systems of oppression. Please join us in actively combating racial inequities and advancing anti-racism work to create a world in which we truly live out our values of Non Nobis Solum (“not for ourselves alone”).