On Friday, October 6, the Upper School students and faculty participated in the 3rd Annual Equity and Inclusion Day. The theme for the day, in accordance with the Equity and Inclusion Theme for the year, was “Building and Sustaining Equitable Environments.” Special guests from the Brown Center for Students of Color were among the facilitators.
The workshop topics included mental health, white privilege, sexuality, gender socialization, class, and equitable education.
Shay is the Assistant Director for Co-Curricular Initiatives at the Brown Center for Students of Color at Brown University. They work closely with undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, alumni, and campus colleagues to create and implement initiatives that facilitate an inclusive campus environment, as well as build a sense of community among students, faculty, and staff of color and their allies. Shay is a licensed clinical social worker who earned an M.S.W. and M.A. in Women’s Studies and Gender Studies from Loyola University Chicago, and a B.A. at Arizona State University.
Joshua is the Director of the Brown Center for Students of Color. He coordinates leadership development for underrepresented students and their organizations, and incorporates academic rigor into student events and programs. Joshua is an experienced instructor, tutor, and advisor. He is also passionate about class-based analysis, feminist literature, queer theory, and race theory. Joshua earned his law degree (JD) from the University of Southern California and his BA in American and Ethnic Studies from Wesleyan University.
Je-Shawna is the new Assistant Director of Brown University’s LGBTQ Center. Prior to that, she served as the Programs Manager in charge of the Emerging Leaders Initiative and Special Projects at the National Black Justice Coalition. Je-Shawna provides strategic insight on outreach and issues affecting Black LGBT young people. A graduate of Spelman College where she received her Bachelors of Art in Comparative Women’s Studies, Wholley served as President of the LGBT student union, Afrekete. In 2009, alongside Morehouse College’s Safe Space organization, she spearheaded the first LGBT Pride Week in the Atlanta University Center. Wholley has been honored as the recipient of the 2011 Campus Pride Voice & Action National Leadership Award for her tireless efforts to make Spelman College and the Atlanta University Center a more inclusive environment for the Historically Black Colleges’ and Universities’ (HBCUs) gay and transgender student bodies. Additionally, she was instrumental in the research and planning of the historical Audre Lorde HBCU Summit, which focused on the social climate regarding LGBT affairs on HBCU campuses. Dedicated to the empowerment of LGBT youth of color, Wholley travels across the nation to keynote and conduct workshops on creating safe and inclusive campuses for all students to thrive. Je-Shawna has a Master of Arts in Gender and Women’s Studies from Minnesota State University, Mankato.
Sam Ortiz is a Community Director at Brown University where he works primarily with first- year communities engaging in co-curricular education and experiences. Sam is a graduate of Columbia University where he studied Higher and Postsecondary Education Administration. Sam also received his undergraduate degree at the University of Utah in Social Work. Sam has devoted his life to making change for underrepresented communities and centering social justice in that work. This has included work with local and federal politicians as well as non-profit work. His non-profit work emphasized refugee and undocumented communities. In his free time, Sam enjoys engaging with popular media that highlights the lived experiences of Black and Latinx communities through graphic novels, music and television.
Matt is the Director of Diversity at Rocky Hill School where his mission, along with the help of students and faculty, is to create an authentically inclusive learning environment for everyone, regardless of background. Matt devotes much of his free time outside of school to teaching judo to local middle and high school students, many of whom are affiliated with Beat the Streets—a program whose mission is to provide opportunities for underprivileged middle and high school students to improve their academic outcomes through involvement in after-school wrestling programs. Matt has a B.A. from Vassar College, and an M.A. in Independent School Leadership from the Klingenstein Institute at Columbia University, where the focus of his research was a nationwide examination of the impact of affinity groups on high school campuses.