Students Establish White Antiracism Group

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Friends Select’s new White Antiracism Group (WAG) is looking to engage community members to partake in conversations about racial injustice and white supremacy while dismantling their own biases towards other racial groups.

The idea for the club originated in February from a student who graduated this past year. Throughout the spring semester and quarantine, upper school students C.C. Servon ‘21, Annie Rupertus ‘21, and Elena Milliken ‘22 worked tirelessly to make that idea a reality. 

In May, the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor became widespread and sparked nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice. The murders also underscored the deep seated racism that is found in almost every system and establishment in the United States. The WAG group leaders knew that having conversations at the smallest level, Friends Select, would be a good start for their antiracist work in the FSS community. 

For the first meeting, which met on October 1, the club leaders and advisors wanted to “make sure that they talked about the verdict for the Breonna Taylor case” in addition to going over the community guidelines which set a basis for civil discussion, says Elena. 

Sarah Kelly, a faculty advisor of the club, says, “I want to learn more about myself, my privilege, and how my whiteness impacts my view of the world” in addition to “making sure that I am providing the best education and classroom environment for my students.” Ian Lockey, another faculty advisor for the club, believes that a lot of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) work done at FSS has fallen on the shoulders of people of color and wants the WAG to reflect and ask, “what is it that we as the white body of the school can really be doing?” Ian also hopes the group will complete a comprehensive action plan by the end of the year to implement in the future. 

As a current member of the WAG, Noah Bonner-Monastra ‘23 says, “it’s really important for me to understand these issues and the struggles of these people that are being marginalized in our society today.” He also recognizes that he has a lot of privilege and wants to “help inspire some of [his] peers to be more passionate about these issues.” 

In addition to having weekly meetings, The WAG would also “love to collaborate with other affinity groups and clubs at Friends Select,” says Elena, to establish relationships, and work together to build a more inclusive community. 

The WAG plans to meet every Thursday during lunch, and students should contact Elena, Annie, or C.C. if they are interested in joining.