Community and Equity lays the foundation for many core values at Concord Academy. Throughout the year, the C&E team plans on linking the stories of each individual as a whole within CA’s diverse community. With this year’s theme centered around extending grace, Grant Hightower, CA’s new Director of Community and Equity, aims to bring his past experiences to CA with hopes of fostering a community, where students have a sense of who they are in a global context.
Hightower’s past experiences in organizing affinity groups help him work with emerging student leaders. In the Wellesley school system, responding to an incident of a new teacher of color being threatened online has led him to acknowledge the strength of young adults, while focusing on articulating trust and vulnerability throughout the process.
Currently, the C&E office is reflecting on how CA’s institutional systems create bias for different affinity groups in the name of the Mirrors and Windows series. One of the first programs being held for this series revolves around finance and affirmative action. Hightower explains, “This concentrates on how to re-orientate our perspective on privilege.”
Furthermore, the C&E team strives to acknowledge the blind spots surrounding the term “equity,” fostering courageous contemplation about who we are as a community. C&E hopes to not only engage students in conversations to get comfortable with being honest, an important aspect of common trust, but also build up CA’s community and equity profile. Attention is focused on the gender equity task force, as it establishes a relationship with gender identity, a central theme at CA. Moreover, the C&E team is making sure that they are active participants as the head of school search proceeds, putting emphasis on diversity and equity.
The first C&E assembly will take place on the Friday of Family Weekend, October 8, involving a two-hour workshop engaged with the whole student body about extending grace. This will hopefully allow students to appreciate their sense of community for diversity and equity while having the chance to escape from their busy lives. The assembly outlines the idea of exploration and ties into how individuals in a community share one purpose as a whole.
Sharing our collective experiences as a community will foster a space to grow and simultaneously heal, amid the pandemic which has brought racial inequities amongst other societal and cultural traumas. There will be further student programming in the upcoming months organized by the C&E coheads, Kiran Bhat ’22 and Gio Clark ’22, along with the C&E office, in addition to speakers during the school wide assemblies.