Building an Antiracist Brearley

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Building an Antiracist Brearley Last May, as the country experienced a long-overdue reckoning around racial injustice, Black students and alumnae called out incidents of racism and harm they had experienced at schools and colleges across the country. At Brearley, these courageous voices ignited a process of self-examination and reform at the School that will benefit current and future Brearley students for generations to come. In communications over the summer, the School outlined its preliminary action steps to become an antiracist community. We are making progress in reviewing, revising and implementing systems, policies and practices that will create a strong and enduring foundation for a more inclusive and equitable community.

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Bursting the Brearley Bubble by Shae Campbell ‘21, art director of Panoramic (see page 36).

Brearley’s long legacy as a progressive institution enabled it to respond directly to the powerful calls for increased diversity, equity, access and belonging. Throughout its history, social movements required faculty, staff and trustees to go beyond the familiar in pursuit of truth and led us to adopt new approaches to teaching, learning and community building. These changes improved both the quality of the student experience and Brearley’s liberal arts program. In the recent past, Brearley has instituted a student-centered schedule, a new homework policy and a K–XII health education program for these very reasons. Today, calls for the School to become an antiracist institution are contributing to a stronger culture of listening, understanding and growing as a school. The commitment to become an antiracist school requires a novel approach to institutional change. Using the metaphor of a house best explains the structural change needed in this new iteration of independent schools’ diversity, equity and inclusion work. In the past, the schools added a new room to respond to a specific institutional need. Now, we must examine the foundation to identify and resolve the cracks that have contributed to the marginalization of members of our community. Our work has been expansive, but today our antiracist work is systemic. Our preliminary steps to address anti-Black racism at Brearley provide a 360-degree review of our systems, policies and practices. From governance to antiracist and anti-bias training and education, from program to accountability and research, from communication to staffing, the School is working on all fronts to address this issue (see chart on next page). We are committed to engaging the full community in this work. We will rise together as the foundation is strengthened. Although the work is complex, the goal is simple: All members of our community should feel valued and a sense of belonging, and every student should graduate with cultural empathy and competence. By addressing anti-Black racism in our program, we are developing systems that will also identify and support other underrepresented or marginalized populations. This work will fundamentally strengthen our program, which seeks to prepare students for university and for meaningful and purposeful lives. Our dedication to creating an antiracist school community is an enduring institutional commitment. Transparency and measuring the impact of our work are critical to our success. We’ve begun our equity audit, and with the external support of other experts we have started to review and update our curriculum and pedagogy as well as our hiring and retention policies. The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee of the Board of Trustees will lead the development of a strategic plan to guide this work into the future. At the heart of antiracism work lies Brearley’s long-standing tenets. This institutional commitment will strengthen our liberal arts tradition that teaches critical thinking and writing, encourages a passionate exchange of ideas and develops in its students a sense of purpose that is greater than their own success. Our students’ ability to lead with intellect, empathy and cultural competence will be significantly enhanced by bringing an antiracism lens to their lives. While this work is foundational, it’s also important to climb up to the roof to look out at the educational landscape. I believe this is an inflection point for many independent schools across the nation. Schools that rise to the call to build multicultural school communities will be in a position to respond to their students’ determination to make a positive difference in their communities with an education that provides them with the tools they need to do so. This change in our school is a necessary step in preparing our students for principled engagement in the world. —Jane Fried

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Antiracism Initiatives governance


training and education


To provide board-level oversight, support and accountability, the Board of Trustees has created a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.

Aligned with the external curriculum review of Opening Doors, Brearley’s Strategic Vision, departments are engaged or will engage in developing an inclusive curriculum and culturally competent pedagogy with the support of outside consultants.

Students, faculty and staff are participating in training and education sessions on topics such as antiracism and cultivating community throughout the year.

Board and Head of School letters were sent over the summer to inform the community of the School’s commitment to antiracism and preliminary action steps.

Faculty and staff are also being trained in emotional responsiveness.

Antiracism Statement is included in Brearley’s Statement of Beliefs (see page 15), which is also featured in school and admission materials.

Antiracist advisory groups for students, parents, alumnae, and faculty and staff have been established to ensure open communication. These groups meet in advance of DEI Board Committee meetings and each has a representative that sits on the board committee. The DEI Committee will oversee a strategic plan for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Alumnae Board has developed and ratified its own antiracism priorities to strengthen and expand racial equity work and commit to sustained change where needed.

New curriculum is being introduced in LS as well as in Class V and English and History Departments in Classes VI–XII. Physical Education and Drama Departments also are working with external consultants on new programs. . In recognition of the essential value of race- and ethnicity-based affinity space, the Office of Equity and Inclusion and the Dean of Students are working to support the creation, organization and funding of programming for new and existing affinity spaces. The Umoja student group continues to be an exemplar for this work. Collaboration with Black Students Demanding Change continues, including BSDC representation on Self-Government and a panel presentation at the upcoming NCGS conference.

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Trustees and parents have completed the first session of mandatory antiracism and anti-bias training. A racial literacy and antiracism curriculum for K–XII (which already has been implemented in some grades) to guide students in the acquisition of cultural competence is underway. Antiracist training will be offered to the Alumnae Board.

School Instagram highlights ongoing antiracism work. The Alumnae Board met several times and hosted two town hall meetings with school leadership to discuss the School’s response to creating an antiracist community. A K–XII family meeting hosted by school leadership explained antiracism commitment and progress on initial action steps. Faculty presented changes to the curriculum and pedagogy for 2020–2021 school year. Annual Giving Review and fall Bulletin provide updates on antiracism action steps.

antiracist advisory groups v = Co-Chair


policies and procedures

accountability and research

Hired an Associate Director of Equity and Community Engagement and appointed a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Coordinator to each division.

To increase transparency of institutional response to incidents of racism, the administration created age-appropriate discipline systems and Codes of Conduct for each division.

Conduct equity audit to identify areas for improvement and measure success of initiatives.

Hired a K–XII school counselor with experience working with BIPOC students in the Counseling and Wellness Department. School administrators and department heads are participating in workshops with a national diversity hiring consultancy to identify and address aspects of our current hiring, onboarding and mentoring processes that support and impede the hiring and retention of talented teachers and administrators of color. The goal is to have new systems in place to support the hiring of teachers and staff of color by the hiring season. A revised evaluation process will consider the commitment of faculty, staff and administrators to understanding and furthering the School’s goal to become a diverse, inclusive, antiracist community across socioeconomic levels and where all members feel valued and respected.

The School also created a Policy Against Racism, Bias and Bigotry for all students, faculty and staff, which also standardizes and makes transparent institutional response. Multiple training sessions have taken place to introduce these new policies and practices to students and the reasons for their creation. Faculty and staff too were trained in these new policies and practices during the opening of school. Members of the discipline committees have been meeting to discuss case studies and issues of bias. A third-party complaint system will be implemented this year. Funding for mental health support has been provided to alumnae who requested it. Administrators will explore models for restorative justice.

EnGenderED Research Collaborative is conducting parent focus groups by division and race and will soon begin meetings with MS and US students. An anonymous survey is available as well. Faculty, staff and alumnae will also participate in focus groups in coming months. All members of the community will have the opportunity to complete a survey, which asks the same questions posed in focus groups. A climate survey will be developed based on information gathered and will inform the equity audit. A summary of the equity audit will be shared with the community. Findings of the equity audit to inform strategic plan for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the review of mission statement.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Board Committee v Rebecca Haile v Stephanie Perlman v Paula Campbell Roberts ‘94 Tara Abrahams Christine Alfaro ‘91 Gideon Berger Susan Berresford ‘61 Amina Elderfield ‘94 Jane Fried Sue Meng Tanya Huelett (Administrator) Parents Elisabeth Cannell Daphné Crespo-Helm David Foster Julie Gamboa Shaba R. Keys John Lin Monica Machado Rob Manning Kimberly Ayers Shariff Tori Smith Takisia Whites Alumnae Ibijoke Akinola-Michel ‘92 Elaine Bennett ‘77 Lisa Chen ‘10 Ariel Fantasia ‘96 Jade Johnson ‘08 Georgia Levenson Keohane ‘90 Ayodele Lewis ’17 Andrea Matos ‘88 Christina Morales ’09 Gwendolyn Forston Waring ‘73 Faculty and Staff Utsman Afifi Janelle Barth Melissa Cassis Anayanci Cruz Celia Dillon Gabe Sanchez Ann Saunders Kelly Stein Runako Taylor Ella Vorenberg Students Alicia Alvarado ‘22 Tsion Carnielli ‘22 Taryn Chung ‘22 Mikayla Ervin ‘21 Chimene Keys ‘21 Connie Rosemond ‘22 Sasha Tucker ‘21 Aanika Veedon ‘22 Phoebe Weinstein ‘22 Emily Wheeler ‘22 FALL 2020 27



During the summer, departments including English and History and Class V teachers began an in-depth analysis of their programs and pedagogy through an antiracist lens—exploring what could be changed to ensure their inclusivity and relevance to the lives of all Brearley students. The School began with them in this first phase of change that will continue intentionally and measurably over the next three years, explains Dr. Mulkin, Assistant Head of School for Academic Life, as their curricula are “crucial to the identity of a student and her understanding of who she is in the world.” Further, English and Class V had already commenced discussion about their programs, considering how they’re taught, for example, and rethinking their reading lists, which were long in need of updating to accommodate other voices and perspectives. They were therefore prepared to accelerate their work after Umoja’s call to action and the independent Instagram account Black@Brearley made it clear these updates were necessary. Each department and the Class V teachers were matched with consultants with related expertise, with the purpose of providing faculty specialized support while preserving their autonomy in carrying out their work. Mr. McDonald, Class V Head Teacher, reports, “Our consultant has given us quite a few resources to use, and she has helped us clarify our thinking. She is a sounding board off of which we bounce ideas as we write new History units and choose new novels for English class.” Similarly, the English faculty have been working on their curriculum and pedagogy as a department and as grade-level teams; they will engage with their paired consultant in the next month. Additionally, they began collaborating with another consultant over the summer who is assisting them in developing a mission statement that will articulate the department’s commitment to a program that fights anti-Black racism. That consultant has already been instrumental, notes Dr. Wolf, Head of the English Department, in “facilitating group discussion and helping us to acknowledge our own and each other’s assumptions and values more fully.” In September, English, Class V and History introduced curricular changes they are incorporating to their programs this year to parents and students. This academic work is ongoing, and it is Dr. Mulkin’s intention that this collaborative process will serve as a model for other departments as time goes on.

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The English Department’s major goals for this year have been to rethink our curriculum and pedagogy in the light of the concerns of Black students about anti-Black racism in our program. We have sought, in a number of ways, to create a program in which Black students—and all students—feel respected, validated, safe, and neither invisible nor hypervisible; a program in which students see themselves and aspects of their own identities mirrored and gain empathy for voices and experiences other than their own. In particular, we have added texts by Black authors at every grade level between VI through XII, as well as texts by Native American and Asian American authors in the Middle and Upper School. The texts in our curriculum both celebrate traditionally marginalized cultures and acknowledge the hardships and traumas these groups have faced as a result of historic institutionalized racism. Throughout the year, we have built in opportunities for students to reflect on units of study, alongside their learning process, so that they can share how the revised program is working for them. As we review our curriculum and pedagogy, we will continue to diversify the voices and experiences that we teach. We will also continue to teach many texts that have been part of the ongoing curriculum, but we will approach these texts, and all texts, through a lens that is more intentional about not causing identity-based harm. —2019–2021 English Department

Humanities curricula are crucial to the identity of a student and her understanding of who she is in the world.

This past June, the Class V team was asked to make significant changes to our curriculum, a charge that has been both exciting and daunting, a call we collectively find urgent and necessary. We recognize that the history of this country is too often romanticized and devoid of truths about racial oppression. We want our students to see how freedom and oppression were simultaneously established, and how they have been in tension ever since. But how to wholly and effectively teach that to 10- and 11-yearolds was a head scratcher. How do we do this without our students feeling defeated and deflated? How can we empower them? We had our aha moment as we listened to a podcast series called The Land That Never Has Been Yet, a title borrowed from Langston Hughes’s poem “Let America Be America Again.” As we considered the poem it led us to these questions: • Who are the “we” in We the People? • Who has had access to the grand ideals—freedom, equality and democracy—upon which this country is founded? • Whose voices have been omitted or missing and how is this country working toward including those forgotten or erased voices? These questions allowed us to shift our framework and gave us space to expand the voices and perspectives that would be included in our curriculum as well as examine how power has been wielded throughout this country’s history to exclude certain people. Our goal through all of this is to tell a more honest history. We want our girls to know that, no matter how young or old, they too can participate in that process of change— toward a more just, free and equal country.

The History Department is happy to report about the curricular changes we are making in the core history curriculum as part of the School’s antiracist initiative. We are energized and excited by the clear direction which the School is giving us and by everyone’s daily awareness of how historical crises impinge on the people who are living through them. For example, this year’s US History course in Class X began with a study of the 21st century, including a look at current racial disparities as well as at President Obama’s presidency, to create a frame through which to ponder our country’s development. —Gail Marcus, History Department The 15th century marks for many historians the beginning of globalization, and, as Ibram Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist describes, an important point in the invention and proliferation of racial hierarchies that are a part of our world today. In Class VIII History we are excited to center how identities are created and recreated over time, how they reflect power systems and challenges to those systems and how they intersect with other systems of economics, politics and culture. We are seeking to correct the overemphasis on European history and the overutilization of Eurocentric concepts of “progress,” “civilization” and “modernity.” This will allow the students to see “Europe” with much more historical accuracy and conceptual nuance, and create space for understanding non-European exchanges and conflicts in their own local terms. —Gabe Sanchez, History Department

—Susannah Terrell, Class V

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As part of our equity audit of Brearley we invited Upper School parents to sign up for interviews and focus groups. Happily, and we’ll admit surprising to us, there was a much larger response than we anticipated. The level of parent investment and enthusiasm to participate is a fantastic sign and quite unique—we have not seen this level of investment in other schools we have partnered with, which says many special things about the Brearley community.—Dr. Jacobs and Dr. Clonan-Roy, EnGenderED Research Collaborative

Parents To confront systemic racism at Brearley and address the harm that has been caused to Black students and alumnae, the School has pledged to mandate antiracist, anti-bias training for every constituency. This is a community-wide effort, for as Dr. Huelett, Director of Equity and Community Engagement, says, “Undoing this set of beliefs, behaviors, practices and policies is everyone’s work.” As part of this commitment, at least one parent or guardian from each student’s household is required to participate in mandatory antiracism and anti-bias, or ABAR, training this year. Brearley enlisted Pollyanna Inc. to facilitate these sessions, which began for parents in mid-October. Among the goals of the instruction are to offer an opportunity for families to reflect on their own beliefs and practices and the messages these beliefs and practices send to their children; to provide insight for parents about their children’s identities, behaviors, socialization and learning; and to supply parents with concrete tools to reduce instances of identity-based harm from student to student and, ultimately, to support the School in its mission to become an antiracist institution. “We want, and need, families to be our partners as we identify and combat racism when it manifests itself in the community,” continues Dr. Huelett.

“Undoing this set of beliefs, behaviors, practices and policies is everyone’s work.”

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As a parent I am deeply invested in our getting this right. —Rebecca Haile, P’20, P’29, Co-Chair, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee of the Board of Trustees

In addition to hosting constituency-wide ABAR training, the School is undergoing an 18-month independent equity audit to glean a deeper understanding of the lived experiences of each community group that constitutes Brearley, for which it has retained EnGenderED Research Collaborative. Co-founders Dr. Jacobs and Dr. Clonan-Roy apply a qualitative and inquiry-oriented lens to analyze all facets of a school ecosystem to identify racial inequities and biases and to make recommendations on how to upend systemic racism. In focus groups structured by racial/ethnic identities, Dr. Jacobs and Dr. Clonan-Roy have begun meeting with parents by division, with the other constituency groups to follow. While using consultants has been common practice at Brearley, for this essential work the consultants throughout the School are taking an evidence-based approach. “In the past, we had invested heavily in learning and understanding. Now, we must prioritize effecting tangible change, asking ourselves, ‘How does this impact our practice in measurable ways?’” Dr. Huelett explains. “Tell us what you can accomplish. Show us how you can leave our school in a better place than we found it. Finally, while these changes have been a long time coming, they have crystallized in this moment and there is no going back.”

“We want, and need, families to be our partners as we identify and combat racism when it manifests itself in the community.”

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Alumnae The Alumnae Board met many times over the summer to discuss feedback from individual alumnae, classes, BlackatBrearley representatives, the Miller Society and Brearley administrators. In August the Board hosted two town halls featuring Head of School Jane Fried, Board of Trustees President Christine Alfaro ‘91, the Trustee co-chairs of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, and Director of Equity and Community Engagement Tanya Huelett. These forums enabled alumnae to hear from the administration and board members and to ask questions about antiracism steps being taken at Brearley. Last month, the Alumnae Board ratified and shared its Antiracism Priorities, its own action plan to address anti-Black racism and to foster a truly inclusive, multicultural community for all alumnae. Among its objectives and goals are supporting alumnae of color and those who have been “othered”; maintaining transparency, representation and antiracism protocols by the Alumnae Board itself; reevaluating Alumnae Board structures and focus to seat more alumnae of color and diverse backgrounds; providing DEI training for current Alumnae Board members and exploring ways to expand to the wider alumnae community; ensuring that all affinity organizations like the Miller Society and Queerly Brearley have the Alumnae Board’s partnership and support; and representing the Alumnae Board on the Antiracism DEI Committee. Amina Elderfield ‘94, President of the Alumnae Association, says the intention of developing an action plan, which will remain a living document, was furthered by “this pivotal moment for Brearley and for the world, which gives us the chance to ask ourselves some hard questions and challenge our own conventions with the hope of repairing, restoring and forging new ground through sustained change.”

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Town Hall Q&A Highlights Q. Why are the Board of Trustees’ Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee and its Antiracist Advisory Groups so important at this time? A. The purpose of the DEI committee is to support and expand Brearley’s existing and new work in diversity, equity and inclusion so that all community members can learn and thrive. The DEI Committee must ensure and sustain its commitment, support, accountability and inclusivity in this work. We start with ourselves in modeling antiracism and being at the forefront of community antiracist training and ensuring that board-decided policies, procedures, and systems are also reviewed through an equity lens. We are putting antiracist advisory groups in place to broaden the communications channels at Brearley and to help to actively monitor the School’s progress in its antiracist work, provide feedback on proposed policies and proposals, identify issues and propose solutions where gaps may exist, and serve as the voice and liaison for their broader constituency group. Q. By definition, Brearley teaches its students to be critical thinkers. Is there a conflict with that philosophy and requiring mandated antiracist training for its community? A. We believe strongly in grounding our education in truth, morals and ethics, which is why we make it very clear that our community’s values are rooted in respect for others.


We are operating with renewed urgency. Every single day that a student experiences identity-based harm is a day too much. —Tanya Huelett, Director of Equity and Community Engagement Our goal is to set up infrastructure so that we can support the administration in dismantling systemic racism and other biases at Brearley. —Paula Campbell Roberts ’94, Co-Chair, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee of the Board of Trustees “If we’re going to be a vibrant, productive and supportive community, all of our voices must be heard, acknowledged and valued.” —Amina Elderfield ‘94, President of the Alumnae Association Our Board of Trustees is 100 percent committed to this work, and we will not put it down. —Christine Alfaro ‘91, President of the Board of Trustees We are taking the long view; we want to improve the School for our students who are here now and for all the students who will follow. —Jane Foley Fried, Head of School

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Students Student leadership at Brearley was exemplified last spring by the work of Umoja, the School’s affinity group for Black students. Over the summer students volunteered to serve in an advisory role for Ms. Fried and Dr. Huelett. During that time, students also founded a new Brearley publication, Panoramic, as a vehicle to “educate, empower and embody Brearley’s values of diversity, equity and inclusion,” which they launched in September. Concurrently, another Brearley student founded Black Students Demanding Change (@bsdc), a coalition dedicated to making schools in New York and across the country racially equitable and inclusive. Through our students’ commitment and activism, they are helping to build a better Brearley.


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Maya Whites ’21, Co-Head of Umoja What are some of the objectives of Umoja? Have they changed in the past year given Brearley’s recent and ongoing efforts in becoming an antiracist school? In the past, some of UMOJA’s objectives have been increasing knowledge about Black history throughout the Brearley community, advocating against anti-Black racism, and creating space for non-Black students to learn how to be better allies to the Black community. A courageous group, members can often be found piping up about their experiences and refusing to go unheard. Though UMOJA is maintaining these objectives and many more, Brearley’s recent antiracism work has allowed it to shift to a more introspective approach when planning the agenda for this year. With Brearley having put more structures in place for antiracism work outside of UMOJA (e.g., antiracism task forces and committees), UMOJA is moving back to its core value: family. In other words, addressing how Brearley’s anti-Black racism has negatively affected Black students, supporting each other more, prioritizing members’ mental health and wellness, combating internalized racism and fostering a strong sense of community through group bonding. What do you hope to leave as a legacy for Umoja and the School? I want to leave a legacy of showing up for what I believe in. I’ve been in UMOJA since my freshman year and am so grateful for the UMOJA alumnae in classes 2018, 2019 and 2020 who showed me I should always take initiative and fight for what matters to me. Thanks to that alumnae cohort, Brearley now has the Brearley Diversity Student Leadership Council, the Big Sister/Little Sister Program, Belonging at Brearley Day, the UMOJA Festival and so much more. Initiatives that I’ve started in my time here only scratch the surface for what I know future students will do. If you’re a Brearley student reading this: Know your voice matters. Your needs matter. Don’t hesitate to advocate for initiatives that will make Brearley a better place for you and your peers and call out issues when you see them. Whenever you get discouraged about how long a journey Brearley has to go, think of the hard work of alumnae like myself and others and realize how far our school has come.

Your leadership of Umoja was one of the catalysts for Brearley’s antiracism work, which led to your serving in a student advisory group for Ms. Fried and Dr. Huelett. What did this summer role entail? Will you continue in this position throughout the year? As the leader of the student advisory board I arranged the meeting time for the group and we met once a week throughout the summer. Student members of the advisory board had no assignments; their only task was to be present and offer their opinions on different aspects of antiracism efforts. I did a lot more listening than I usually do, which was a very valuable experience for me. Behind the scenes, I was in contact with Ms. Fried about proposed meeting topics, sharing student feedback on how the summer was going, and constantly thinking about how we could make the space as productive as possible. Sometimes, administrators or board trustees joined our meetings. The summer student advisory committee model was so successful that our group is continuing to meet throughout this year once a cycle, of which I am remaining leader. You coined Building a Better Brearley—how did you come up with that? I was inspired by 590, Brearley’s new school building. After its construction, our school community had to adjust to the changes of being on a campus. And we are continuously making adjustments to the ways 590 is used. Its existence has allowed Brearley to reimagine schooling in a Covid-19 safe way that I never would’ve thought possible. I believe this is a metaphor for the work Brearley is doing in creating an antiracism Action Step Plan. The plan is very flexible and not at all finite. And so, the plan is “built,” but the journey has only just begun. And the construction never stops. The summer student advisory board has already discovered holes in the antiracism action plan that we and the administration are working to fix. It is constantly being improved upon, which it has to be in order to account for the diverse expanse that is the Brearley community. I am excited to be a part of building positive change, and even more excited to see the lengths to which this plan is taken after I am gone.

The plan is “built,” but the journey has only just begun.

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Avery Shoates ’21 and Maya Whites ’21, Co-Founders and Co-Editors of Panoramic Panoramic has been a work in progress. When did you first come up with the idea? We came up with the idea in ninth grade. We were looking for ways to contribute to the community because we felt the community lacked something, a void that needed to be filled. We thought Brearley gave a disproportionate share of attention to students’ athletic and academic accomplishments while neglecting other aspects of students’ lives and ways they add to the Brearley community. We worked on crafting a proposal for something new and creative and refreshing that would reflect everything we thought Brearley was missing. Why do you think there is a need for another student publication at Brearley? How is this one different from the other ones that exist? Although existing student publications sometimes include articles surrounding Brearley’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, before Panoramic there was not a student publication exclusively dedicated to this work. Brearley students start new clubs and CIOs every year, yet a new student publication had not been created in decades. Panoramic is different because it is solely about the student perspective and it intentionally embraces the intersectionality of all identities that exist within “One Brearley.” Because of the online format students can submit an incredible range of artistic mediums, expanding the publication’s reach. However, we plan to print a few hard copies by request. Do you see a long-term future for Panoramic? How do you ensure that as you are both graduating this year?

Panoramic is meant to amplify the student voice, a key to the authenticity of the publication. So, even if the focus of the student body shifts and Panoramic’s content shifts to themes the staff decides on, by maintaining the original mission it should have a long-term future. How often are you going to publish Panoramic and how can community members access it? We hope to release Panoramic four times in the school year, once per academic trimester and one summer issue. Will you be expanding the staff? Yes! Currently, our staff members are ourselves and our art director, Shae Campbell ‘21. Because we are all seniors, it is extremely important that we find successors to our positions for next year. We are also looking for staff contributors who will submit to Panoramic on a consistent basis. By expanding the staff and leaving Panoramic in the hands of students who we know care about it and its mission, we can ensure that Panoramic will continue to grow. We are so excited to see what the students after us do. How did you come up with the name? We wanted a word that was expansive and all-encompassing, embodying all of the values we wanted our publication to reflect. Panoramic—defined by Google Dictionary as including all aspects of a subject; wide-ranging—struck us as the perfect name.

Panoramic’s mission is to be a creative magazine that educates, empowers, and embodies Brearley’s values of diversity, equity, and inclusion as well as cultivates a closer-knit school community.


People of My Life, by Ines Im ‘21, appears in the debut issue of Panoramic.

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Joséphine Helm ’22, Founder and Executive Director of Black Students Demanding Change What prompted you to found BSDC? The creation of BSDC organization was born out of an intense moment of anti-Black racism in our nation and schools: both the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and too many others AND the resurfacing of the many painful experiences of Black students through @blackat accounts that popped up across the nation. After connecting with Black students at independent schools across the city in a group chat, I began to see that the need for antiracist reform was not unique to any one school. I called together a group of students from schools across the city, and the rest is history. What is your role as Executive Director? As Executive Director, I manage the New York chapter by leading meetings and organizing our initiatives and run the national team by connecting with chapter leaders across the nation. What are the immediate goals of BSDC? Our immediate goals include launching five new chapters across the nation, recruiting new schools, and connecting with the coalitions our schools are part of, like NYSAIS, to spread the word and establish partnership with educational leaders. And long-term goals? Our long-term goal is to establish a new standard of antiracist culture in independent schools across the country. Is it hard managing an organization of this magnitude on top of your schoolwork and other responsibilities? Short answer: Yes. But both being a student at Brearley and running BSDC bring me incredible joy and fulfillment. The timing of the organization’s founding has been helpful. We started at the end of the 2019–2020 school year and worked to establish ourselves over the summer, so continuing into the fall is just about maintaining the momentum we’ve generated and staying on top of our other responsibilities.

What kind of feedback have you received since launching BSDC? Overall feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. We’ve recruited 13 partner schools, which have committed to implementing our demands (including Brearley), we’ve hosted a virtual conference with nearly 200 attendees, and we’ve made connections with students and educators across the country. BSDC has recently gone national. What does this mean exactly? Will each @BSDC correlate with its geographic region (for example, @BSDCSF for San Francisco)? BSDC NY was founded to serve New York–area schools, but we’ve recently launched DMV (DC, Maryland and Virginia) and California chapters. BSDC Northwest and BSDC New England are also in the works. We work closely with student leaders across the country to implement our action plan in schools across the nation. And yes, each @BSDC will correlate with the state/region it represents. Is there a need to increase your staff? While we have no official staff and are all student volunteers, expanding across the nation requires us to recruit students across the country to speak with. We achieve all this via word of mouth and social media. You, Ms. Fried and Dr. Huelett are planning on speaking at a conference later in the school year. Can you tell us about it? We will be presenting at the National Conference of Girls’ Schools to administrators at independent schools across the country about BSDC’s work. Ms. Fried and Dr. Huelett will speak about the importance of antiracist work in schools and the process of working with BSDC.

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