Search form

Reflection, Dialog, and Support: Introducing Our African American Student Affinity Group

Friday, October 23, 2020

Student support is an essential component of an independent school’s work, including its work with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Already, we create opportunities for our students to engage in dialogue that helps create cultural awareness through extracurricular activities like our ACCEPT club or debate club as well as through our curricular initiatives, particularly in the humanities.  Starting this quarter, we will also begin offering an opportunity for our African American students to participate in an affinity group.

An affinity group is a gathering of people who share a similar identity. And although members of the group may have a common identity, it does not mean that everyone in the group has the same experiences. Rather, the group is a place for reflection, dialogue, and support; it ultimately strengthens ties within the community.  After all, facilitating positive identity exploration is central to creating an inclusive and thriving learning environment.

Goals for our African American Affinity Group will include:

  • Acknowledging and bridging the cultural gaps between multiple worlds that students must engage in
  •  Focusing on who is in the room (not who isn’t in the room)
  •  Giving students the opportunity to talk about their identity for their own needs
  •  Creating leadership opportunities

While we will work to develop student leadership within the affinity group, we are also pleased to share that we have a strong group of faculty who will be working with the group, including Andrew Richardson, Brionna Zimmerman, Jay Spearman, and me.

We are excited to see how our first foray into affinity groups will support both our African American students and our community as a whole.  Please do not hesitate to reach out to me at wware@heathwood.org if you should have any questions.