Annual Summit Addresses Racism


Jessica Rosiak, News Editor

Students from across the district convened at the Del Valle Education Center in Walnut Creek to participate in the annual Diversity Summit on November 15. The goal of the summit was to bring together a variety of staff and student voices in an effort to address unconscious prejudices.

The event was opened with a discussion of the quote, “People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

Students shared their own experiences with prejudice in their respective school settings.

“It’s good to shine a light on this often controversial, touchy subject and confront it and try to make a change that is very much necessary,” said junior Isaac Tian. “I am grateful that I got the chance [to go].”

The speaker, Dr. Lori A. Watson said, “It’s easy to hate somebody I don’t know,” yet “if I get to know folks, it becomes more difficult for me to lean into beliefs that are the unintegrated [sic], gated beliefs about who people are.”

Watson suggested that there 4 different perspectives from which an individual may view the subject of racism: believing, thinking, acting, and feeling. According to Watson, once people meet in the center, change can occur.

Watson encouraged attendees to contemplate questions such as, “How do we get students to show up and do the work on that ground level?”

Leadership teacher Lindsay Webb-Peploe said that she’s “hoping [the seminar] will generate ideas from the students to make people feel more included.”

Tian believes that Campolindo is making progress regarding diversity and that its students and teachers “just need to keep doing what they are doing.”

ASB Commissioner of Diversity, junior Jackie Artiaga, who has attended the summit twice previously, said, “It’s been really exciting to see different students have their eyes opened to something they may not have been informed about.”

Watson agrees that she sees the “consciousness” of racism “raising” as she’s “seen a lot of positivity from those who are actually doing the work” though “there’s still some work that has to happen” because not everyone wishes to partake in the conversation.

Watson said that working with the Acalanes Union High School District is like “coming home” as it is where she began her career, and working with students “is the most meaningful work” that she does.