Honoring The Diverse Voices of JBS

Honoring the diverse voices of the JBS community is what we strive to promote. You will hear from the four co-leaders of the Middle School Diversity Club as we reflect on the challenges and lessons of 2020.


My definition of diversity has drastically changed in 2020. I believe it augurs around ideas of antagonism, complacency and harmony. Antagonism comprises blatant examples of discrimination in efforts to diminish another’s value. Complacency recognizes an “other”, but fails to acknowledge their pain. Lastly, harmony exists once everyone loves and accepts each other’s differences. As a young black woman in America, 2020 felt like a reckoning between these notions of diversity, spotlighting examples of anti-racism, complacency, and movements towards equality through the Black Lives Matter Movement. Frightening images of police brutality and complacency to this violence by authorities to people of my own race was more than horrifying. Yet, more importantly I saw a global movement of people of every complexion and identity stand together with a vision of harmony.

Like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. famously said, I believe, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” Diversity varies in meaning from person to person, and in this last year the world has experienced a diversity of issues ranging from the pandemic, climate change, and racial injustice, but in the last few months I’ve learned that diversity tends towards harmony.


2020. What can we say? We all learned, grew, and hopefully became the best of ourselves. Considering what other people had gone through last year, I think of myself as lucky. I didn’t get sick (knock on wood), I didn’t miss any important things in my life, as well as my family being healthy. I had learned a lot during the prime of “quarantine.” I practiced field hockey almost every night, watched many movies and shows, and spent time with my family. I traveled for the first time since last February in November, and I went to my first movie a few days ago since last November. I had my birthday in April during quarantine last year, and I never expected that my next birthday would also be in quarantine. There have been a lot of downsides of 2020, but 2020 also unlocked a new array of views. I have learned a lot about diversity this past summer, from the ongoing Black Lives Matter Movement to becoming a diversity club leader. My definition has changed and grown. I believe that diversity is different in each person’s mind, but in everybody’s mind it means that each individual is unique as well as different.


2020 taught me so many lessons about diversity, not the least of which is that we contain multitudes. We are an intersection of all the identities that we carry. But that doesn’t mean we can fix all the forms of oppression that haunt us, alone. It takes millions of dedicated healthcare professionals to fight a pandemic. It takes students from around the world to combat climate change. It takes unbelievably courageous citizens to fight police brutality. It takes every single one of us to confront the systems of oppression that we contribute to. In a time of heartbreaking isolation, we found ways to stay connected. We made strides towards things that have been centuries in the making. Despite all of this, I want to make it clear that we don’t have to settle. We shouldn’t force marginalized people to make good with their oppressors. Rather, we must join them in their fight. We must acknowledge our privileges and use them to remake the world we live in. It is our job to understand that we can be oppressed and oppressors. We still have so far to go, but we can do it together, following CDC guidelines of course.


When it was March of 2020 and we found out that we would not be coming back to school because of a deadly disease, I had no idea that so much more would happen in my life from just staying at home all day. One challenge that hit me hard was the amount of death I saw, if it was another unarmed black person, or someone who died of COVID. It isn’t something new in America to hear that another black person got killed, and in the middle of a pandemic, seeing the amount of people fed up with the epidemic of systemic racism in America gave me hope into what the future could bring.

Having a Mom that was and is still on the Pandemic task gave me an insight into all the long 14-hour days and tireless work that all healthcare workers have had to endure through this time. I was more than willing to make dinner for my whole family if it meant that my Mom could get a little down time when she would get home from work, because you could see in her eyes that she just needed to eat and then go to bed.

2020 was most definitely not a great year, but I learned a lot of lessons throughout it. One was to look on the bright side of all this madness that we do have people in this world that want to bring about “Good trouble” like the late and great John Lewis said. Also, we have scientists and frontline workers working to try and figure out how to stop this spread of COVID-19 that brought so much sorrow to so many people. “ Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” – James Baldwin

From the Club

Our main goals this year are to promote diversity among the middle school of course as well as lean into discussions about more difficult topics in a comfortable space for students. We have had around 2 meetings so far this year, but plan on having many more. The first meeting was about our club in general and our overall plans this year. The second meeting was about different types of music from many different cultures. We covered Indian, Afro beats, Latin, and Chinese Music. We got to inform and learn about different music styles and how diverse many cultures are. The next meeting we plan on talking about microaggressions that people experience on a regular basis. We have so many much more in store for the Burroughs community and can not wait to share more as we go on in our journey.

If you are interested in joining the Middle School Diversity Club, please contact any of the authors of this article!