Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
With over 400 students from all over the world, the assortment of places from which our students come does not tell the full story of diversity at Govs.
We strive to create a diverse community that is reflective of the world that our students will go on to live in; one with differences of gender identity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, political viewpoints, religion, and cultural background. As part of our Seven Essential Skills, Govs students learn to understand their roles in the large community and act within a moral and ethical framework, which includes finding and using their voices to share their beliefs and what is important to them. We work hard to create and sustain an inclusive community at all times and in all places— in the classroom, on the stage, on the field, in the dorm, and in the dining hall.
Every Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we step away from classes and gather as a community to hear from a guest speaker and reflect together on their message. In 2020, Reverend Sharon Risher, a reverend, author, and speaker, came to Govs to deliver a message of forgiveness and faith.
Reverend Risher was catapulted into the limelight after the Charleston, S.C. shooting at the Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on June 17, 2015. Her beloved mother, the church’s sexton, was killed along with eight others, including two cousins and a childhood friend. Since that horrific tragedy, Risher has been very outspoken about the nation’s gun laws and is one of the national spokespersons for the grassroots advocacy groups Everytown and Moms Demand Gun Sense.
She shared how the tragedy of losing family members in a horrific way paved the way for her to be involved in politics now. She spoke of turning a tragedy into a call for positive change.
Black History Month
Every February, we celebrate Black History Month as a way to recognize the United States’ shared history, and provide an opportunity for us to celebrate those who have impacted not just the country but the world through their activism, display of Radical Love, and achievements, which are too often neglected as part of the national narrative.
Since 1976, every American president has recognized Black History Month, and endorsed a specific theme. But it was not until Congress passed "National Black History Month" into law in 1986 that many in the country began to observe it formally. Because the history of African Americans/Blacks has often been neglected from the curriculum and national narrative, the law aimed to make all Americans "aware of this struggle for freedom and equal opportunity". The Black History Month 2021 theme, “Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity” explores the African diaspora, and the spread of Black families across the United States.
This year follows a tumultuous period where racial justice calls reminded us to take stock of where systemic racism persists, and hold ourselves accountable to our value of Social Justice and Advocacy. I am grateful to be part of a school that prioritizes a commitment to education and cultural awareness, DEI and anti-racism, and creates an inclusive environment where we are all invited and encouraged to grow in our understanding of justice—and joy; it is why we delve into the complexity of learning about each other.
The Office of Multicultural Education invites you to take some time to check out these resources:
In the past three years, ten faculty members have attended the Diversity Directions Independent School Seminar. The week-long seminar is designed to help schools develop a common language and strategic methods to examine and address the personal, interpersonal, and institutional factors that can advance or impede a school’s inclusion initiative. For students, we boast a global education program, including formal exchange partnerships with schools in Germany and China, and with the Navajo Preparatory School in Arizona.
Our Student Diversity Steering Committee is intended to be the driving force behind diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives at Govs. Students who serve on this committee:
- Advocate for initiatives and programs that advance the school toward its vision
- Suggest modifications based on feedback
- Participate in facilitation training on a wide array of diversity initiatives
- Engage the student community in the areas of equity and inclusion
Our Diversity Steering Committee works collaboratively to advance, advocate, and support the Dean of Multicultural Education. The committee makes recommendations to address current initiatives and policies toward promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion by:
- Evaluating current practices and trends regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion policies
- Promoting programs that encourage students, faculty, and staff to explore their identity, but also the identities of others
- Providing professional development opportunities for faculty and staff
- Assessing community growth from the 2012 climate survey
DIVERSITY MISSION STATEMENT
adopted in June 2012 by the full faculty
At The Governor’s Academy, we welcome individuals who embrace difference. We believe that our personal experiences are the threads that define and connect us, and we foster a climate of appreciation in which each person’s story can weave itself into the evolving fabric of our community. Recognizing that diversity is an ongoing commitment, we purposefully reexamine our behaviors and beliefs to create community.
Professors Jennifer Kirsch and Shamus Khan
College professors and co-authors of Sexual Citizens
Transgender rights activist
Author of My Life After Hate
Reverend Sharon Risher
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Keynote Speaker
Teacher, speaker, writer, and advocate for transgender rights