On April 3, Upper Schoolers and eighth-graders gathered in the Lora M. Robins Theatre during community time for a Multicultural Awareness panel discussion. The event, co-sponsored by Steward’s Diversity Club and Center for Engagement, facilitated a meaningful conversation about cultural misconceptions, stereotypes, and assumptions. It was also an example of Steward’s welcoming community and commitment to engaging students with topics that encourage critical thought and empathy.
On stage, Mikal Banks ’23
(co-president of the Diversity Club) and Tiffany Goodman
(diversity, equity, and inclusion
coordinator) facilitated the discussion between panel members Sabina Mohonty ’23
, Rafi Zepeda ’26
, Jordyn Adkins ’25
, and Upper School Social Studies Teacher James Haske
and the audience.
Ms. Goodman and Mikal began by sharing the Diversity Club’s core values and Steward’s diversity statement. Mikal then asked panelists a series of questions, including: How do you identify yourself in terms of cultural identity? How is your culture represented at Steward? What are some misconceptions or stereotypes about your culture?
The panelists shared personal experiences, discussed the difference between ethnicity, race, and national identity, and took questions from the audience. An audience member asked, “Do you have a framework for asking questions [if people want to know more about someone’s cultural identity]?” Ms. Goodman suggested, “Don’t make assumptions about others” when asking questions, and Jordyn added, “We’re all our own selves.”
At the conclusion of the discussion, Ms. Goodman encouraged students to expand their worldviews and explore the wider world. “Grow yourself … and grow your experiences,” she said.
The Diversity Club
The club, which meets biweekly, is an Upper School club that has three advisors but is student-led. Rashad Lowery (coordinator of campus life and community stewardship), Braeden Glancy ’15 (college counseling administrative assistant), and Khadijah Luqman (associate director of college counseling; Upper School world languages teacher) help guide club members through yearly activities.