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Attend the 2021–2022 Equity and Inclusion Virtual Speaker Series

Save the dates for the five events that are part of this year's speaker series.

Independent schools are hosting a free program to further our communities’ educational experiences

The 2021–2022 Equity and Inclusion Virtual Speaker Series, led by more than 25 independent schools in the Greater Seattle area, offers our communities and beyond the opportunity to connect, learn, and engage in topics around equity, inclusion, and antiracist education and action. This free program is a continuation of the 2020-2021 speaker series, which was created in the wake of the slayings of George Floyd and other Black Americans and the growth of the Black Lives Matter Movement.

“Breonna Taylor, Amaud Arbery, George Floyd—the killings of these and other African Americans really brought an urgency to these topics. With this urgency came ‘I’m not really sure how to start these conversations with my family,’” says E-chieh Lin, director of diversity and community at UPrep.

Andrès Arteaga, director of equity education and inclusion at Villa Academy, thinks this speaker series gives our community the chance to explore topics they previously didn’t want to explore or didn’t know they needed to explore. “It offers everybody an opportunity to grow in these topics so necessary to anti-racism, and it leads the conversation forward,” says Andrès. Last year’s speakers covered topics from dismantling White supremacy and raising multiracial children to the impact of racism in our current society.

During this school year, five nationally recognized speakers will engage participants about the impact that racism and oppression have in our institutions and the greater society. By creating the time and space for these crucial conversations, the diversity practitioners from the participating schools hope that this speaker series will help to bring us together, build awareness and understanding, and inspire actions (both big and small) toward anti-racism.

“I am a big advocate of the trickle effect,” says E-chieh. “With the number of people that attend these events, that trickle effect becomes huge. I hope that people will read the speakers’ books and continue and encourage these conversations in their various spheres, from within their homes and communities to the corporate world.”

Andrès hopes that people will walk away with tools for growth and their questions answered. “The goal is that attendees will be left with a set of resources so that ‘I don’t know where to begin’ is no longer an option,” he says. “It allows our communities to become fully committed to anti-racism work. I want people to walk away with a feeling that they are able to do something to impact change.”

Below are details about each of the speakers for the 2021–2022 series; you can register here for each of these free events.

Gyasi Ross
“Indigenous People, Race, and Education”
October 14, 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Gyasi is a citizen of the Blackfeet Nation and an advocate for Native peoples in the fields of law, education, activism, literature, and filmmaking. Known for his ability to present topics in a forthright style, he is the author of two collections of stories and poems: Don’t Know Much About Indians and How to Say I Love You in Indian. Gyasi says, “Indigenous people are the best storytellers in the world because we’ve done it for survival—that’s how we’ve conveyed messages and warnings and lineages forever.”

Erika Lee
“Asian Americans in America’s History: A Look to Xenophobia and Racism”
November 16, 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.

Known as one of our nation’s leading immigration and Asian American historians, Erika is a professor at the University of Minnesota and director of the Immigration History Research Center. She is a world-renowned public speaker and appears regularly in the media, including a featured appearance in in PBS’s “Asian Americans.” Erika is the author of four award-winning books: America for Americans: A History of Xenophobia in the United States, The Making of Asian America, Angel Island: Immigrant Gateway to America (co-authored with Judy Yung), and At America’s Gates: Chinese Immigration during the Exclusion Era, 1882-1943.

Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum
“A Conversation with Dr. Tatum about Race and Racism”
January 13, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

A noted expert on the psychology of racism and an award-winning educational leader, Beverly is president emerita of Spelman College and author of Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations about Race. She brings unique insights and strategies to people who are eager to engage in productive conversations that can lead to effective action for social change.

Jason Reynolds
“Racism and Young People’s Literature”
March 31, 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.

The New York Times best-selling author of All American Boys, Track Series, and Miles Morales: Spider-Man, Jason is the 2020–2021 National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. He’s also the co-author, alongside Ibram X. Kendi, of Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning; this book shows readers the many insidious forms of racist ideas and how readers can identify and stamp out racist thoughts in their daily lives.

Dr. Bettina Love
“We Gon’ Be Alright, But That Ain’t Alright: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom”
May 5, 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.

An award-winning author and the Athletic Association Endowed Professor at the University of Georgia, Bettina’s writing, research, teaching, and educational advocacy work meet at the intersection of education reform, anti-racism, carceral (of the prison/jail system) studies, abolition, and Black joy. In her book We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom, Bettina argues that educators must teach students about racial violence, oppression, and how to make sustainable change in their communities through radical civic initiatives and movements.  

By Writer/Editor Nancy Schatz Alton

Read about how we celebrate the rich fabric of the UPrep community here.

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