It’s my second year as the Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall School and along with many of the students, I’m excited to start my sophomore year at CH-CH. What a freshman year it was! I physically got lost multiple times, surprisingly forgot to eat lunch, met newfound friends, and figured out just how aggressive geese can be.
I also discovered how resilient a community CH-CH is. Resiliency is a beautiful thing, as we have all learned this year. It is not the pain or the incident; it is how we take those steps forward and what we learn from it. This fall will bring its new moments of resiliency and brave moments most definitely. To prepare, I did what any smart person would do: I started to re-watch Star Trek the Next Generation, partially to prepare myself for the new Picard series but also for inspiration. That became its own rabbit hole and eventually led me to re-watch Star Trek: Nemesis. While I wouldn’t rate it as my favorite in the series, I found the plot thought-provoking in the vein of DEI.
How do you survive when your intended purpose is abandoned? How do you make a life of your own after years of being marginalized and isolated? Without running the plot, Jean-Luc Picard is faced with an unimaginable reality in the villain, Shizon. In a climactic scene, Picard asks Shizon to look at him and see his own humanity, but Shizon pushes back and states, “That is the past, Captain.” Picard replies with what I found to be an incredibly moving statement. He tells Shizon, "It can be the future. Buried deep within you, beneath all the years of pain and anger, there is something that has never been nurtured: the potential to make yourself a better man. And that is what it is to be human. To make yourself more than you are."
Make yourself more than you are. How beautiful is that, to become more than you ever thought you were at any stage in your life? The constant growth of your own humanity is what I believe everyone truly wants for themselves and those around them. As I finished the movie, I grabbed my current book.
How can I be better if I don’t know my past and if I don’t come to terms with the truths often not told? How the Word is Passed has helped me fill many of those holes. It is beautifully written and challenges all readers to reflect on how we interact with the spaces around us. The entire administration team is currently reading How the Word is Passed. I invite you all to read it and join us this fall as Michael Streeter, CH-CH English faculty member, and I host a school-wide book club discussing and reflecting on Dr. Smith’s book leading up to our Virtual Fireside Chat with Dr. Smith this October. More information is to come on this event in the upcoming weeks.
There is so much going on in the DEI world at CH-CH, and I am excited for you all to see what we are reading, doing, and celebrating. Affinity groups for parents will return this October. We will also be holding future book clubs and movie nights as well, with a concentration on DEI and mental wellness. Please check the newsletter for dates, times and Zoom links. If you would like to see more or to find out what is happening currently in our area with events you can attend virtually or in-person, check out our DEI page and Resource Board, or our highlight reel on the Chapel Hill- Chauncy Hall Instagram.
I hope this year brings us all back together in meaningful ways that we hope to reflect out in the world beyond CH-CH. As Picard would say, “Engage!”
Sophomore Mix Tape Fall 2021 Spotify Playlist
Nikki Turpin is the Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall School located in Waltham, MA. Learn more about DEI, Anti-Racism, and Equity Initiatives at CH-CH.