On Tuesday, October 4th, Eagle Hill School welcomed Dr. Derrick Gay for a day-long workshop for students, faculty, and staff. Dr. Gay is an internationally recognized consultant to educational, artistic, and philanthropic organizations around the world on issues of diversity, inclusion, and global citizenship. Dr. Gay collaborates with education thought leaders to foster empathy, enrich inclusion, and cultivate cultural competency.
In keeping with our mission, Eagle Hill continues to seek ways to foster intelligent, compassionate, and informed 21st-century global citizens. Moreover, as we strive to ensure that our school community reflects the rich and heterogeneous nature of our towns and cities, our country, and our world, particularly as it relates to race, gender, and socioeconomics, we continually need to ask ourselves the question: what supports do we create and maintain to support inclusion? To that end, we invited Dr. Gay to Eagle Hill to continue the work our community engaged in with Dr. Gene Batiste over the last school year, as well as with others in recent years.
Dr. Gay’s workshop guided students and faculty through their own journeys, employing a variety of interactive strategies, discussions, individual reflection, current documentaries, and media articles. Members of our community spent a great deal of time reflecting on their own identities and the number of forms identity can take. Dr. Gay also impressed upon our community the importance of understanding and respecting that every individual has a personal story. Through personal stories and experiences, Dr. Gay demonstrated what it means to respect another’s story. Midway through the day, Dr. Gay led exercises around language and the ways in which language can convey underlying assumptions. He also spent time discussing the difference between sympathy and empathy and encouraged students and faculty to make the choice to be empathetic. Finally, Dr. Gay explored frameworks to assist our community in moving forward to engage in courageous conversations when conflicts or tensions around identity arise.