Contributed by Chief of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Action Stacey Lee
Friday, November 5, marked the date of Mount Vernon’s first Inclusion Network Event with the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Affinity Social at Morgan Falls Overlook Park. Members of the BIPOC community, including students, parents, grandparents, faculty, and staff, gathered to enjoy dinner and connect around supporting one another in the MV community.
All divisions of the School were represented and even though the temperature was cool, there was a feeling of warmth and connection which lasted throughout the evening.
Co-hosted by Mount Vernon Parent Network IDEA Chairs Nicole Tuggle and CC Williams Durden, in partnership with the Office of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Action, this inaugural event celebrated the launch of the Inclusion Network which was established as an outgrowth of the IDEA Action Report.
The Action Report asked the School to consider: How might we gain new insights for a more complete, inclusive picture by listening and learning from People of Color within our community?
How will we foster belonging to the most underrepresented groups at the School?
How might we respect, affirm, and celebrate the dignity and worth of each member of our community, despite identity and background?
To find the answers most fitting for Mount Vernon, the School asked Black Alumni, parents, and students about their experiences to understand how we might foster belonging and affirm the development of positive identity. This information was shared with a diverse group of faculty and staff who worked together to understand best practices in communities which are dedicated to inclusion and belonging, and the Inclusion Network was established.
The work of IDEA at MV is grounded in strategy, programs, and relationships. This event brought together families committed to Mount Vernon for the sake of building relationships that will directly support the experiences of BIPOC families and students as MV moves forward in fulfilling its mission for all students.
In the spirit of family fun, prizes were given to the family who has been at MV for the most years – this family has two young men at the School who started in Kindergarten and have been Mustangs for nine years to date.
A prize was also given for the youngest Mustang represented – a family with a one year old in the Preschool. There were some adorable connections between Alphas and Omegas in attendance.
Many thanks to the Community Development Office for supporting this start for the Inclusion Network. If you identify as a member of the BIPOC community and would like to be connected to future events, please contact Hunter Pierce, [email protected].