Diversity & Inclusion
Berkshire School strives to create a global community that reflects the world around us and the backgrounds, experiences, identities, genders, perspectives, races, religions and talents that each member brings to our school. We believe that a diverse and inclusive community supports and respects all cultures, ethnicities, languages, philosophies, political views and sexual orientations that exist within and beyond our school.
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- AFFINITY & ALLIANCE SPACES
- EQUITY COUNCIL
- DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION ALUMNI COUNCIL
- DIVERSITY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE WORK
AFFINITY & ALLIANCE SPACES
Affinity Groups bring together people who have a common identifier involving race, gender, religion, family structure, sexuality, etc. and are for students who identify as a member of that group. They are spaces where people can be their authentic selves so that everyone has a sense of belonging.
The following groups allow students to both commune with peers who share a social identity and create a space for brave, safe conversations and action.
"Affinity Groups will grow and they will evolve to become the fabric of who we are. That is the mission in the work that we call diversity and inclusion and justice."
–Akilah Edgerton, Dean of Diversity and Inclusion
Latin American Student Association
White Anti-Racist Group
Pan-Asian Affinity Group
LGBTQIA+ Affinity Group
Black Student Union
Trailblazers is a mentorship and orientation program for incoming BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) students. Our initiative is designed to support new BIPOC students to become acclimated to the community. New Trailblazers will connect with student mentors and learn how to access the services and resources they need to successfully navigate a residential academic setting and predominantly white institution.
Orientation with the Offices of Diversity and Inclusion, Academics, Residential Life, Afternoon Programs, Student Life Office, and Student Wellness.
Check-ins and social gatherings throughout the year
Introduction to affinity spaces
Trailblazers’ mentors & new students took to Stockbridge for a retreat to share their stories as pioneers under the Mountain. Their goal? Empower each other through dialogue to act for change and explore their identities to help others navigate a path at Berkshire 💚 #forlife pic.twitter.com/gNpW4TOGl8— Berkshire School (@BerkshireSchool) October 9, 2021
The Equity Council was formed to develop and mobilize a unit of informed, engaged, and committed diversity practitioners to do equity work in all areas of school life. With this council’s work, Berkshire faculty work collaboratively across departments and with school leadership to examine policies, practices, and programs for equity. This council puts at its core the idea that equity is the fabric of who we are, and the Berkshire community not only recognizes, accepts, and celebrates our differences, but affirms our human potential by striving to create the most just and inclusive Berkshire for the adult and student community.
Cheng-Chia (Tasia) Wu
DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION ALUMNI COUNCIL
The DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) Alumni Council was launched in the spring of 2021 to help make the School a more inclusive community. The Council strives to contribute new and valuable ideas for building and supporting the community and encouraging fellow alumni from all backgrounds to get involved.
The Council was organized to advance Berkshire's 2019 Diversity & Inclusion Strategic Plan and focuses on six areas of school life: academics, admissions, athletics and afternoon programs, alumni engagement/advancement, student life, and faculty and staff support. It is composed of 26 members, representing both BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) and white alumni.
Members of the Council work with faculty and staff and current students in each of the school-life subcommittees and lean on fellow alumni for their perspectives and recommendations.
Robert Jacobs ’04, Chair
Losseni Barry ’18
Rhonda Bentley-Lewis ’86
Alexander Buteaux ’08
David Chiang ’05
Samone DeFreese ’16
Dalisa Espinosa ’10
Cathleen FitzGerald ’85
Abdul Fox ’89
John Harris, Jr. ’82
Marianne Ho Barnum ’78
Shawn Ingram ’85
Klayton Johnson ’10
D’vonna Johnson-Hines ’85
Martha Hagerty Kirkpatrick ’11
Angela Lange Meredith-Jones ’87
Farah Osman Nurse ’86
Philip Sandick ’01
Denise Saunders ’83
Titus Stewart, Jr. ’89
Selina Sun ’10
Jiles Turning Heart ’04
Unyimeabasi Udoh ’13
John Washington, Jr. ’72
Javier Cruz Winnik ’96
SEEKING EDUCATIONAL EQUITY AND DIVERSITY (SEED)
The National SEED ProjectSM is a peer-led professional development program that creates conversational communities to drive personal, organizational, and societal change toward greater equity and diversity. Through the organization's methodology, SEED equips participants to connect their lives to one another and to society at large by acknowledging systems of oppression, power, and privilege.
To date, 190 students, faculty, and staff at Berkshire School have participated in SEED. Student and faculty/staff-led seminars are held during the school year on a month basis. Since students and adults meet together, students are able to offer clear perspectives in a space in which they have mutual standing with adults.
SEED alumni also meet throughout the year to consider current challenges, develop programs, and support diversity, equity, and inclusion work on the campus, and beyond.
For more information, please contact any one of our SEED facilitators.
Akilah Edgerton: firstname.lastname@example.org
Anita Loose-Brown: email@example.com
Lissa McGovern: firstname.lastname@example.org
John Speer: email@example.com
DIVERSITY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE WORK
Below are resources available to students and faculty at Berkshire School to provide further education and professional development.
Asian Footsteps Conference
People of Color Conference (PoCC)
Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC)
The Institute for Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice
The Center for Courage and Renewal
In honor of #IndigenousPeoplesDay, LASA (Latin American Students Association) shared the heritage & cultures of Indigenous People in Latin America this morning. Students represented Ecuador, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Panama, Venezuela, & El Salvador.🌎 pic.twitter.com/rVr5bjNiws— Berkshire School (@BerkshireSchool) October 10, 2022
During All-School Meeting, students from the Asian Affinity Group welcomed Lydia X.Z. Brown, disability justice advocate, to commemorate AAPI Heritage Month. Thank you, @autistichoya, for an insightful presentation today! pic.twitter.com/p2IxrMEQen— Berkshire School (@BerkshireSchool) May 2, 2022
🏳️🌈Breaking silence together on #DayofSilence! This student-led movement aims to spread awareness about the impacts of bullying and harassment toward #LGBTQIA+ students. @glsen @glsenma pic.twitter.com/ceLuwpJnUV— Berkshire School (@BerkshireSchool) April 22, 2022
JUNE 11 LETTER
MAY 30 LETTER
VIDEO: VIRTUAL TOWN HALL
Berkshire School and the Berkshire Alumni for Anti-Racism group hosted a virtual Town Hall via Zoom on Thursday, July 2, 2020. The conversation and Q&A with school leaders including Head of School Pieter Mulder P’22 and Board of Trustees Chair Lara McLanahan '86, P’16,'16,'19, focused on how Berkshire School can become a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable community.
The goal of the meeting was to bring awareness to BIPOC students’ experiences with systemic racism and to share with the extended alumni community how Berkshire and the Berkshire Alumni for Anti-Racism group have been working together, and will continue to work together, to dismantle these systems. We invite all BIPOC and white alumni to join us in this work and to share their experiences, to listen, to learn, and to ask questions.