Human Library 2
By Learning Center Coordinator Cassy Lee
The Middle School just hosted its second Human Library event Friday, December 14, an all-school afternoon dedicated to hearing stories from people who have experienced prejudice and discrimination based on some aspect of their identity. As befits our focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion, the Human Library is becoming a powerful tradition to foster conversations across difference and increase our students’ awareness and understanding of identity.
By engaging in conversation with someone they might not normally have the opportunity to interact with, students gain deeper understanding, empathy, and an awareness that we all have value and not to judge others by their cover. Many of the students reflected in their written feedback forms that they came away thinking differently about topics such as homelessness, gender norms, religion, and nontraditional career paths. One student said the message she came away with was, “Accept everyone for who they are. Let everybody decide who they want to be.”
For this second Human Library presentation, students chose between Jeremy Jue on growing up third-generation American born Chinese; Hanin Benchohra on Muslim-American identity; Leigh Crow on being a gender non-conformist; Zak Franet on the experience of being homeless; Captain Troy Dangerfield on being a police officer in San Francisco; Minna Choi on making music your career, not just your hobby; Tina Sogliuzzo on working in the theatre as a performer and costume designer; and Miriam Ani, who performed a short performance piece on walking your own path.
As Middle School Director Joe Williamson shared in his Middle School Update:
It takes something pretty special to elicit genuine applause from an audience of middle school students. At the Monday, December 3 Community Meeting, Learning Center Coordinator Cassy Lee received such enthusiastic applause when she announced that there would be a second Human Library presentation taking place on Friday, December 14. With the intent of fostering conversations that challenge stereotypes and prejudices, Ms. Lee has invited fascinating speakers to be “books” in our Human Library and share stories of how some aspect of their identity defies stereotypes and how they have persevered in the face of discrimination (this could be related to any identity characteristic—such as gender, race, religion, socioeconomic status, immigration status, etc.).
Check out pictures from the event on Vidigami.