Inclusivity and Justice Task Force Work Continues
Several months ago, Hilliard City Schools announced the creation of an Inclusivity and Justice Task Force and appointed me to be the Chair. Shortly after, I was offered the Director of Equity and Diversity position. So, I have officially left my previous role as Principal of Alton Darby Elementary and am looking forward to continuing my work in Hilliard Schools through the Office of Equity and Diversity.
Since June, the Inclusivity and Justice Task Force has met regularly, and we are breaking down our big goal for Hilliard City Schools: how might we become a model district for students of color and diverse needs and circumstances to feel welcome, included, heard, valued and celebrated. Already, we have had valuable conversations and are building an action-oriented approach to achieving this goal. The task force includes teachers, staff, parents, students, and community members of diverse backgrounds, races, and perspectives.
Our district is not new to the equity and diversity conversation but, we also recognize that we need to do more. Our community and our students are looking for leadership and guidance on how to break down barriers, end systems of injustice and prejudice, and seek a better future for our students. There is room for growth in our efforts at Hilliard City Schools, and we are taking meaningful and thoughtful action.
On June 3, Dr. Marschhausen shared a blog in the wake of the unrest, pain, and protests in our city and around the nation in response to George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. He wrote, “Today’s crisis demands new action. We live our values, our passion for growth, to embrace the complex work and create a better tomorrow. We can’t wait. We must root out racism in our behavior and demand justice in our actions.”
Equity is also a key focus of our Hilliard Next X Initiative, which will guide the district from 2020-2030. We define Equity in our Next X Initiative with the goal to “create equally accessible programming and opportunities for students and staff by being intentional in our behaviors, practices, and policies. The district will empower and create experiences for underrepresented populations to break down barriers and overcome stigmas.”
As we continue to prioritize building an inclusive culture at Hilliard City Schools, we will continue to share about the Inclusivity and Justice Task Force and the work of the Equity and Diversity Office at Hilliard City Schools. There will be opportunities to engage in dialogue, provide feedback, and learn together as a community.
Our students need all of us to do this work – this isn’t limited to our school buildings; this work must happen community-wide. We will have hard conversations about racism, prejudice, and injustice, and we will work together toward building a better tomorrow for our students. I invite you to join us on this journey.
Samantha Chatman – Director of Equity and Diversity