Reflections on Inclusion and Identity during Reunion
In one of the concluding programs during the 125th Reunion at Chatham Hall, students, faculty, staff, alumnae, and community members joined together to begin a dialouge on the topics of inclusion and identity.
For many Chatham Hall alumnae, race, class, sexuality, and other identities played a key role in their experience of the school. Prompted by discussions of blackface in February, Deja Flowers ’14 shared personal challenges she had faced as a black student and invited others to do the same. Within 24 hours, former and current students had anonymously shared more than 70 stories surrounding issues of marginalization on the Instagram page “@turtleandiristea,” which was created for this purpose. Many have shared that such adverse experiences at Chatham Hall followed them well beyond graduation.
Out of a desire to bring healing, honest conversation, and progress to the larger school community, Deja Flowers and Dasia Moore ’14 requested that an open session be held during reunion to discuss identity and inclusion at Chatham Hall. Deja, Dasia, Rector Suzanne Buck, Alumnae Council, and administrators organized a panel discussion and group reflections to give a voice to those who felt excluded while at Chatham, explore positive initiatives the school has implemented, and generate concrete recommendations for building a more inclusive culture in the future.
The panel discussion was moderated by Trina Gary, a consultant committed to cultivating inclusive communities at independent schools. Please take time to hear from our panelists and reflect on the questions that Trina Gary posed to our group discussions that morning.
An all girls boarding and day school in Southern Virginia, Chatham Hall prepares girls for college and for productive lives. Our innovative academic program offers Advanced Placement courses, global study and travel, as well as project based learning. Our athletic teams regularly compete at the State level and our exceptional riding program is nationally recognized. We foster the intellect and character of each student and, through our Honor Code, live in a community of trust. Grounded in its Episcopal heritage, the school welcomes students of all faiths and backgrounds.