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Upper School Club Helps Students Gain New Perspectives on Community, Diversity

An Upper School club at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School provides an affinity space for students who identify as Black/African-American. Called Unapologetic, the club is a forum to discuss inequities and grow a sense of community for students of color. The club helps students find mentors and discuss opportunities and challenges they experience in the school community.

Group conversations this year have included the protests in Charlottesville, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration policy, hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and the use of the N-word in literature.

Students meet once a month to strategize ways to initiate collective action and participation on campus and in the larger Austin community. They also invite other students and adults into their space and encourage dialogue across cultures. “The intent is to enhance students’ educational and interpersonal experience and help them navigate the spaces they move and learn within,” said Yvonne Adams, St. Stephen’s Director of Equity and Inclusion. “Participants are challenged to see our community from another perspective and to examine spaces and situations where differences are seen and felt, but not heard or addressed. The positive outcomes result in students and others being able to see things from more than just their point of view in all situations.”

“It’s great to be able to comfortably confide in one another about any worries or concerns,” says one club member. “It’s also made us question and exchange ideas as to what we can do in the movement to achieve justice and equality.”

Does your school do something similar?

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