MCRC@ADVIS DEI Conference: 10/11/19
It Takes A Village: Creating and Cultivating Brilliance and Black Boy Joy in Predominantly White Institutions
Intermediate: Assumes some familiarity with or exposure to core content
Racial and Ethnic Identities: Developmental Models, Frameworks, Approaches
Session repeats - Round 1 & 2
Mikael Yisrael, Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Abington Friends School
Norman Bayard, Dean of Students, Friends Select School
Chances are you have heard the old adage, "It takes a village to raise a child." While we agree with this familiar saying, we also recognize that, at times, it is necessary to first create the village. In that spirit, we founded an affinity group for young boys who identify as Black/African-American based on the Nguni Bantu term, Ubuntu, meaning "humanity" and often translated as "I am because we are." The purpose of the group is to establish a community of support and create a safe space for the boys to authentically connect with each other on a deeper level. We discuss topics such as the meaning and importance of Ubuntu and develop vision statements for how we want to spend our time together. Ubuntu not only serves as a rite of passage and cultural curriculum but also encourages academic achievement and cultivates success in the larger academic and co-curricular school community. Ubuntu celebrates the brilliance in black boys and grants permission to engage in unapologetic black boy joy. Join us!
This session is relevant to DEI work because it combines culturally responsive pedagogy and Quaker pedagogy to engage a student demographic that is often misunderstood and/or overlooked during their critical years of development; particularly in a school community that may lack mirrors (i.e. Windows and Mirrors) and models for positive growth, development, and navigation for young black boys in a predominantly white institution. This is also relevant to DEI work because it touches upon the importance of affinity groups as a retention tool.
Folks will learn why there is a need for affinity groups (safe spaces) for Black/African-American boys, particularly within predominantly white institutions. They will also learn the benefits of creating/having such a group; not only for those involved but also for the entire school community.
is a graduate of Cornell University with a Bachelor of Science in Policy Analysis and Management and received his Master of Science in Higher Education from Drexel University. Mikael currently serves as Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Abington Friends School where he founded, Ubuntu, an affinity group, which meets weekly, for 4th and 5th-grade boys who identify as Black/African-American.
prides himself on being a husband, father, son, and good friend. Norman has been an educator (serving as a teacher and an administrator) for 23 years. He has spent the bulk of his career in Philadelphia public and charter schools where he developed a passion for teaching and conducting rites of passage classes for boys and young men of color. Prior to joining the Friends Select School community as the Upper School Dean of Students, Norman served four years as the Lower School Dean of Students and Community Life at Germantown Friends School.
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