Art and Design represents what a school can become when rigorous artistic education meets an informed, equitable lens on society and policy. We are, as many others in the Manhattan High School family, an antiracist school. That means that we will use our power, position, talent and privileges to address and disrupt racist policies that create barriers and disenfranchise any member of our society based on the color of their skin. The Equity Team at Art and Design represents a union of faculty and students. We have made Equity a priority for many years, holding professional development sessions about race, equity, and gender, about the importance of standing up for what is right. We have read multiple articles and attended Professional Learning as a staff around Anti-racism, activation and the history of White supremacy. We have been working on modifying curriculum to make sure we incorporate the voices and perspectives of people of color, diversified our classroom libraries, and held discussions about race and justice in our classes, though they will be increasing and more intentional and school-wide in the next school year. Feedback from our young professionals and their families is critical to our evolving conversation and reflection on what it means to disrupt racist policies that have shaped our world.
The Manhattan Superintendency under Executive Superintendent Rosales and Superintendent Orlen have been leaders in this work in our city for many years, and they have been in the forefront of moving toward building equitable schools for all students across Manhattan. The work is never done. We will work to get better every day. But I am so blessed to lead this school community with the absolute best faculty and staff in New York City. I would put us against any staff out there.
For the next school year, we will complete the reading and analysis of How to Be an Antiracist by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi as a staff. We have started this work during the Spring and summer and we invite all students and families to join us in our reading and discussions around the text. Please email me if you are interested in joining us as we continue to further our conversation and collectively read texts that address bias and racism.
You don’t have to be a leader in the conversation, but simply a participant in creating a safe space where others can listen and provide their worldview.