How to Be an Anti-Racist School

Many Cathedral faculty and staff attended a special webinar yesterday entitled, “How to Be an Anti-Racist School.” The webinar was hosted by The New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS) and featured a question and answer session with Professor Ibram X. Kendi, named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world and author of the award-winning book "How to Be an Antiracist." 

In the conversational session, Professor Kendi responded to questions formulated by members of the New York independent school community highlighting the areas in which racism and power are exhibited in private schools. Yojairi Sands, Lower School Dean and K-2 Math Specialist, was selected by NYSAIS to pose a question on behalf of Cathedral. She asked, “What can schools do to ensure the longevity and continuity of their anti-racist mission, especially considering what can sometimes be the frequent onboarding of new faculty and staff.” Dr. Kendi emphasized consistent professional development accompanied by data collection and accountability.

“My reasoning for asking the question is that Cathedral has a long history of work around equity and justice,” explained Mrs. Sands later to the Peacock Post. “As the school has changed and evolved, it becomes so important that this work doesn’t fizzle out with the departure of key individuals. It is so important to have structures in place to ensure that the work not only continues but grows in response to current events. As our school moves forward in the work of being an anti-racist institution, so much of what Dr. Kendi spoke about will help us to reflect on our goals and practices.”

Head of Lower School Laura Higgins attended the webinar and added, “I’m so proud that Cathedral was so thoughtfully represented by Yojairy's questions. She really got to the heart of our purpose—the critical balance of reflection with action. Either one on its own falls short of our mission and keeps us from moving forward.”

Head of Upper School and Director of Equity and Engagement, Dr. Worokya Duncan, hosted a debrief following the webinar urging Cathedral faculty and staff to harness the moment, reflect on the process, and continue to build together to forge an anti-racist school.
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